Foundation Stories

Thank You, Volunteers!

written by Amber Bourek Slater, Volunteer Services Coordinator

Volunteers are an important part of the Johnson County Library. In 2023, there were 897 volunteers who provided 42,186 hours of service. To put these numbers into perspective, that is the equivalent of 21 full-time staff members. Absolutely amazing!

Did you know that Johnson County Library volunteers helped with 87 different volunteer opportunities in 2023? Teen volunteers account for almost half of those volunteers. Here are just a few of those opportunities from 2023.

  • Tutored children through Homework Help, assisted with Storytimes, monitored rooms during the Writers Conference, helped set up and then clean up fundraising events, and taught English Language Learners.
  • Processed over 600,000 books and other materials from the Library or donated by the community at the Friends of Johnson County Library sorting center.
  • Reviewed over 1,130 books in the Johnson County Library collection, which assists patrons in selecting materials.

Often, volunteers share their talents and special skill sets, such as the leaders serving on the three library boards or providing services like photography needed for special events. They bring a passion for libraries, and many consider it a privilege to give back to something that has been such a wonderful part of their lives.

April 21st to 27th is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. If you see a volunteer with a yellow lanyard in one of our libraries, please introduce yourself and say, “Thank You.” The Library is very appreciative of their dedicated service that makes our community even better.

Meet JCLF board member Kate Gasper

Meet Kate Gasper, 2024 Johnson County Library Foundation board member, and learn why she loves the library!

“The library is my happy place. The Johnson County Libraries have supported me in every stage of my life. Whether it was finding the perfect resources for my 2nd grade science report, needing a quiet place to study for the bar exam, or seeking a destination for my restless toddlers, I always found the Johnson County Library to be—above all else—welcoming. Libraries are a unique gathering place for the entire community, regardless of age, wealth, or politics. I am excited to offer my time and treasure to an institution that offers so much to so many.”

Kate O’Hara Gasper is a partner in the law firm of Lathrop GPM, LLP.  She focuses her practice on business litigation and, wherever possible, helping her clients avoid business litigation.  Kate is a proud alumna of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas Law School.  Meaning, she’s an avid fan of Wildcats, Jayhawks, and in-state tuition.  Born and raised in Johnson County, Kate is honored to support the Johnson County Library Foundation.  Kate and her husband Adam reside in Prairie Village with their two sons.

written by Shelley O’Brien, Executive Director of the Johnson County Library Foundation

It must be spring because I’m thinking about baseball. If Johnson County Library had a baseball card, it might look like this infographic. Here are all of the major statistics the Library reports to the State Library of Kansas.

The bottom line: Johnson County loves its library.

Here are the highlights:

  • Physical materials – Over 1.7 million items are on our shelves. Of course, not at one time. A large percentage of our collection is always on the move. Items can be checked out, moving to another library, or being processed. This number is up since 2019. The library still purchases a lot of physical materials and keeps the stacks full.
  • Number of People with Library Cards – Almost 43% of people in Johnson County have a library card. That is amazing.
  • 8.3 million e-materials borrowed in 2023 – Johnson County Library made national news in January for having over 1 million Libby/Overdrive books checked out. Now we know the overall number for all digital resources being used. Whoa! That is a lot of access.

If anyone ever says that libraries are a thing of the past – show them this card, let them know they are missing out. Johnson County Library and most libraries across the U.S. are being utilized now more than ever before. It just may look a little different.

Celebrate Your Library on Library Giving Day

written by Shelley O’Brien, Executive Director of the Johnson County Library Foundation

This Wednesday, April 3rd is Library Giving Day. Library lovers from across the country will be making donations to their favorite public libraries to enhance services and support library collections.

At the Johnson County Library, we are focusing this Library Giving Day on our 15th library branch – the e-Library. There are so many wonderful offerings on your home or library computer, including:

  • Libby for e-books and e-audiobooks.
  • Kanopy offers thousands of movie and documentary choices.
  • E-magazines with Flipster and e-newspapers like the KC Star and the Washington Post.
  • Udemy to learn about computer programs, project management and so much more.
  • Brainfuse for students taking standardized tests or in need of one-on-one tutoring.
  • Rosetta Stone and Mango to learn new languages.
  • The Great Courses, Kahn Academy, and Universal Express for lifelong learners.
  • And much, much more.

Your support of the Johnson County Library makes a difference because these e-resources are amazing. Brainfuse is a great example. Students from Johnson County can get one-on-one tutoring to complete their homework or get ready for the ACT or SAT. Brainfuse is easy to access and a great way for families to get high-quality resources for no-additional costs.

These digital programs, like Brainfuse, are often supported by community members like you. They are bonus items the Library is able to purchase for everyone in Johnson County thanks to donations from the community.

Please consider making a donation to support the Johnson County Library Foundation this Wednesday during Library Giving Day to support the e-Library. All amounts are welcome!

Your investment in Johnson County Library generates a 300% return.