Gardner Library's interior will be closed to the public Wednesday, Oct. 5 until mid-December.
A recent episode of Johnson County's JoCo on the Go podcast features the Library's incarcerated services librarian, Melody Kinnamon, in a discussion of a creative writing program for Department of Corrections clients. Kinnamon is joined by:
Check out the podcast to hear more about the program and its goals and benefits!
Johnson County Library is poised to bring Storytimes back to nine of its branches, starting Sept. 12. And staff and patrons can’t wait.
“We’re looking forward to offering a really robust schedule of Storytimes over the next couple of months,” said Shannon Goebel, early literacy coordinating librarian. “Our community has really missed in-person Storytimes and so have our Librarians. Working on how to bring it back has been a priority.”
Before COVID, Johnson County Library’s Storytimes were booming in 2019. About 45,000 children and adults flocked to the Library’s popular early literacy programs.
The pandemic forced a pivot to online Storytimes, with many youngsters and caregivers watching the Facebook Live programs from home. It was a great way to connect with families while the virus posed a serious health risk. The Library estimates it served about 10,000 families with children from birth to age six.
But many children and caregivers missed direct personal interaction with cherished Storytime leaders and the chance to socialize and learn together. As virus restrictions were lifted, Library staffers eagerly planned for a resumption of in-person gatherings.
“We know patrons want it,” Goebel said. “They tell us.”
The Storytime schedule is available in the Library’s Fall printed guide. Programming runs until mid-December and will be updated for 2023. The Library will also continue to offer some online Storytime programs, plus Storytime On Demand.
Managers and youth specialists were involved in the planning over many months, to ensure a safe return to in-person programming. They dealt with staffing shortage challenges and worked to make sure programming was equitable and sustainable across the branches.
Goebel was especially appreciative of the core team who worked on details: Sarah Mathews, Christi Haines, Becky Carleton, Grace Bentley and Sarah Aanestad.
In a phased return to in-person programming, Johnson County Library successfully teamed with the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department in September/October 2021. They provided young children with movement activity programs at five parks spaced in strategic geographic locations.
“We did that at county parks, which was so much fun,” Goebel said.
The craving for in-person children’s programming was also readily evident during 2022 Summer Reading events. Family Storytime programs at four outdoor locations quickly filled up, with waitlists, confirming the need for expanded offerings for the fall. Early literacy staffers anticipate hosting about 18,000 people through the end of the year.
Programs will be offered for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families, including some bilingual Storytimes. Locations include Antioch, Blue Valley, Cedar Roe, Central Resource Library, Corinth, Gardner, Leawood Pioneer, Lenexa City Center and Monticello. About 20 staffers will lead the various Storytimes, including some returning veterans and some new.
Storytimes emphasize 6 by 6 early language and literacy skills, to prepare children to love reading and learning. Leaders read aloud from favorite books and engage children with fun songs and sounds, rhymes and movement activities.
“It’s all carefully planned based on a child’s age and developmental abilities,” Goebel said.
The Library will build on its pre-pandemic Storytime success.
“It’s really going to be about what people knew and loved from before,” Goebel said. “We are really thankful that we have so many people that are engaged Library users and we anticipate they will be excited.”
Shawnee Mission Yearbooks
It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present.
About this collection: Shawnee Mission Rural High School published its first yearbook, The Indian, in 1923. As Johnson County's population increased, the district opened more high schools, each with its own yearbook. This collection contains many of those annuals.
Titles and schools, by order of first publication:
In September we are so excited to bring you the Library Lowdown Quiz Showdown! We have a couple puzzles for you so you can play along:
Are the kids headed Back to School? We have resource for them, for the little ones who aren't quite old enough yet, for you and for anyone who just wants to learn something new! We bring in the experts with the super Librarian knowledge and skills to give you and yours an advantage. We focus on eResources, and Kids and Teens resources.
It's the Back to school episode. It's everything you need to know in 20 minutes!
Library Lets Loose is Saturday, Sept. 17. Everyone is eager this year to gather and celebrate in person.
“We’re so excited that we’re in person, and at the shiny newly-renovated Central Resource Library,” says Stephanie Stollsteimer, Johnson County Library Foundation Executive Director.
The festivities are the Foundation’s signature annual fund-raiser. Although virtual in 2020 and 2021, this year Library lovers (ages 21 and above) will congregate Sept. 17 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. for drinks and dancing, food and fun. It will be a great night out to support Lifelong Learning opportunities at the Library.
Space is limited and Reservations are encouraged. Get more info: jocolibraryfoundation.org/events
“We’re just thrilled to be in the Central Library,” Stollsteimer said. “There is a fabulous new Kids’ area. The Black & Veatch MakerSpace will be showcased too. It’s a chance for folks to get in and to see what a fabulous space it is. Oh, and to have a party!”
This year’s honorary hosts are Senia and Will Shields, long-time Johnson County Library supporters and champions of early literacy.
“The Library has been an incredible impact on our lives, and that’s why we’re excited to be honorary hosts for this year’s Library Lets Loose,” Will Shields said. “Once you become a lover of reading and a lover of books, you understand the important role libraries play in our lives. Our Johnson County Libraries are constantly creating new opportunities for library users.”
Senia Shields echoes that sentiment. “Literacy has been an important part of our work and we love the Library resources,” she said. “They open up new opportunities and are paramount for operating successfully in our world.”
The couple arrived in Kansas City in 1993 when Will Shields was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs as an offensive guard. That same year, they established the Will to Succeed Foundation, which provides financial and educational resources to those in need.
Shields played his entire 14-year career with the Chiefs, retiring at the end of the 2006 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
At its pre-pandemic peak, Library Lets Loose hosted about 500 people. Stollsteimer hopes for another great turnout this year. Central has plenty of room for a big crowd of Library lovers. Participants will sample cocktails and delicious bites from local restaurants. DJ Stann Tate makes a return appearance to lead everyone in letting loose on the dance floor in the Library.
Donors can win prizes, including several unique experiences. The event also features a scavenger hunt with a chance to register for a special prize. Patrons can view videos to learn more about the Library and its programs.
Donate online before and during the event: all donations are greatly appreciated. Gift dollars enhance Library services and programs above and beyond what taxpayer dollars provide. They are a vital part of Johnson County Library’s success.
Stollsteimer is especially gratified that Library supporters remained so generous during the COVID pandemic. Corporate sponsors lined up for the virtual Library Lets Loose events and are once again showing their support this year.