Foundation Stories

As I reflect back, the Library has been an ongoing integral part of all stages of my life.

As a young child, my first trip to a library was a bookshelf in our local bank that my own mother and one of her friends started for other mothers to swap books with one another. Those books fed my curiosity of a world that I couldn’t have imagined without stories of adventuresome heroes. As an Iowa farm girl, books and newspapers at our local library kept me up to date on world news when I was living in a relatively isolated area. Oh how we looked forward to these trips into town to explore what was new on these bookshelves!

As a young single mother, the Library gave me a respite – a quiet place from a hectic lifestyle that created hours of self guided entertainment for my children, that was educational, free of charge, and most importantly, quiet and safe. My kids loved exploring the shelves and escaping into great books and children’s magazines – I could not have afforded these books or magazines otherwise.

As an entrepreneur, the meeting rooms at the Library became an office and the librarians were great market researchers. Their vast knowledge of business, based on experience, and the questions from thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs with questions before me, provided me with in-library resources that answered questions that I hadn’t even thought to ask. The result was a multi-million-dollar business venture that made headline news in The Wall Street Journal.

As an aspiring business leader, I attracted the attention of the business community when The Kansas City Star published a front page photo of me with First Lady Laura Bush and then- County Librarian Mona Carmack, when I was asked as a patron to accept an award honoring Johnson County Library as one of our country’s Best Libraries. We had a delightful morning, including brunch, with the First Lady in the State Dining Room where international leaders and celebrities are typically wined and dined. Priceless!

As a business leader today, various community conversations the Library has hosted on climate change, race relations, literacy in our community and root causes of poverty have been insightful. Inviting community leaders to come together to discuss current events in an open forum to educate one another and to share different viewpoints has been eye opening and insightful.

As a curious continuous learner, the Black and Veatch MakerSpace green room and video production center has given me the opportunity to experiment with producing promotional videos and voice-overs. Renting a professional recording studio would have been cost-prohibitive and yet the Library offers it for free and when the early tapings were less than perfect, I didn’t feel like I wasted a lot of money on studio costs. Glass etching is next on my “to-do” list in the MakerSpace. I want to personalize wine glasses for a wedding gift for my niece. I can’t wait to try it.

And, as a grandparent, hearing the squeal of delight from my granddaughter when she learned that she could take Library books home with her still brings a smile to my face. The joy of the Library keeps on giving. So, as you can see, the Library has been an integral resource all throughout my life. And continues to be.

Why do I give? Because I’m so grateful for the many services and resources the Library has provided me and how invaluable it is to our community. The legacy of the Library is one I hope to pass on to other young children exploring places and connecting with characters that books create in their imagination; to other young parents who have great aspirations for their children and want them to have access to books they can’t afford; to other aspiring business owners who will benefit from Johnson County librarians’ experience and vast knowledge of business research; to DIY crafters who want to experiment in the MakerSpace and perhaps discover a newfound hobby; and for grandparents like myself who love to see the joy on our grandchildren’s faces when they learn they get to take the books home with them. That’s why I give! To give back for all that I’ve received.

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