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.

It’s time for the Foundation’s annual appeal and your year-end gift will have a profound impact on our community. The Foundation funds Library books, and educational programs that encourage curiosity, spark imagination and bring dreams to life.

Your contribution will help secure resources to support the Library’s lifelong learning programs including:

• 6 by 6 Ready To Read
• Summer Reading
• Homework Help
• Genealogy
• elementia Teen Literary Program
• Black & Veatch MakerSpace
• Civic Engagement
• Joan Berkley Writers Fund

Your contribution to the Foundation will go toward resources for Library programs, services, and the growth of the collection of more than 1 million items. Did you know you can also support the JCL Foundation through your IRA?

Thank you for your continued support!

Purchase a one of a kind experience and support Library resources for lifelong learning!
Limited spots are still available for these exclusive, one of a kind experiences offered by the JCL Foundation. Perfect for treating yourself, or holiday gift giving!

A Conversation with Kevin Willmott and Steve Kraske

$125 per person/30 spots
February 9, 2020, 3-5 p.m.

Kevin Willmott is a screenwriter and director who won an Academy Award for BlacKkKlansman.
Steve Kraske is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist locally known for his work 89.3 KCUR host of “Up to Date” and longtime career with The Kansas City Star.
Appetizers, wine and beer will be provided.
Hosted at the home of Chris Anderson and Lyn Buckley.
All donations support the Race Project KC, a metro-wide social justice program.
https://conversationwillmottkraske.eventbrite.com

Live Fire Grill and Brew!

$100 per person/30 spots
April 26, 2020, 4-6 p.m.

Bring your appetite for food, drinks and fun! Our Grill Master is none other than Craig Jones, a live-fire cooking expert and the Grill Mayor for The Food Network (2012). Beverage expert and author Pete Dulin is partnering up with beer pairings! Together, these two will fire up a multi-course demonstration and hearty tasting. They’ll surprise and delight you with their wit and knowledge!
Hosted at the home of Vickie and Dale Trott.
https://livefiregrillandbrew.eventbrite.com

Our family has a genetic connection to libraries. My mother Helen was a 1937 graduate of the library science program at Syracuse University. She graduated magna cum laude and worked at the Great Neck Library in Long Island, New York, and later the Canandaigua Library in upstate New York.

During World War II she was the librarian at the Gulf Shores Naval Base in Gulf Port, Mississippi, where she met a young seaman by the name of Vic Regnier. They were married and moved back to Kansas City.

My mother created an environment where reading was valued. As a result, we became a family of readers. Our children and grandkids are voracious readers. When my kids were young my wife would occasionally declare it a reading day. No one had to get dressed, easy food was encouraged and my wife and three kids would read all day.

I credit my kids strong achievement in school to having been read to consistently in early life and learning the love of reading. Our children’s love of literature has been passed on to their children. My wife Ann and 6-year-old granddaughter, who loves chapter books, visit Corinth Library nearly every week after school and afterward read while they enjoy an ice cream treat.

Reading doesn’t just increase subject matter comprehension; it expands vocabulary and enhances creative writing skills. A trip to the Library is an opportunity to explore new worlds. We are fortunate in Johnson County to have political leadership that understands how important the Library system is to our sense of community.

My family supports our Library system to improve the quality of life in Johnson County. The recent expansion of Central Resource Library on 87th Street not only provided more and better Library facilities, it enhanced the Library experience with a recording studio and video production capabilities in the new MakerSpace, expansion of computer access, and more and better meeting and study rooms.

A visit to the Library shows you the breadth of its audience, including children of all ages as well as a variety of young adults and senior citizens. Every community needs space that is receptive to community assembly and Johnson County Library fosters this activity. My family supports the Library because it is one of the reasons that Johnson County is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

  • Bob Regnier is Bank of Blue Valley President and Chief Executive Officer

Don’t miss this grand party at the Library, Saturday, Sept. 28!

Library Lets Loose is a Festive Fundraiser for adult Library lovers (ages 21+) benefiting Johnson County Library Foundation.

Enjoy :

  • Creative Experiences
  • Black and Veatch MakerSpace tours
  • Let’s Get Trivial – trivia contest
  • Big Games Tailgate area
  • Club Carmack – DJ, music and dancing
  • Local music
  • Tasty libations and scrumptious food
  • And more!

Tickets $75. Educators and librarians tickets are just $50 through day of the event!

Honorary hosts: Asher and Audrey Langworthy

More information and sponsorships call 913.826.4740.

Vickie Trott

My connection to the library began early in life. My mother, a voracious reader, early-on introduced my sisters and me to reading. She took us to “the Library” where volunteers ran makeshift libraries in stores and local businesses around the County. I specifically remember a one-room office Library at Johnson Drive and Nall in Mission. We also checked out books from the bookmobile. We’d go to the Westport Library and Southwest High School library in Kansas City because they had summer children’s programming, and a much larger selection of books.

I remember library cards that were similar to dog tags: a metal plate embossed with patron information. A special machine embossed a checkout slip that was filed until the books were returned. In high school I volunteered at the Mission branch located in the lower level of a shopping area. My family was “library people” mostly because we couldn’t afford to buy as many books as we read!

I am an active library patron so often at the library the staff know my name! My husband and I live in Lenexa and frequent the Rec Center and the Public Market. Now we will be spending a lot more time at the new Lenexa City Center Library. Our grandson especially loves the balcony and the kid-sized chair where he can read outside.

I’m astonished by how the Library has changed during the past 60+ years. The Library offers so many more services and programs than ever before. I wish more county residents were aware of or took advantage of Library programming such as our book stores, programs for kids, teens and adults, online resources.

Twelve years ago I connected with the Library as a volunteer. I served on the Board and as President of the Friends of Johnson County Library. In that role I learned so much about how the Library works. I was Chair of the County Librarian Search Committee and thus had opportunity to help formulate the next chapters of Library growth. Three years ago I joined the Foundation Board to help raise funds for the endowment that supports Library programs for the benefit of citizens of our county.

So, the big question – Why do I give?

I give my time because I enjoy knowing Foundation the work I do helps provide supplemental funds for core programming. Volunteers who work in the libraries supplement our paid staff. Did you know that 25 full-time staff positions’ worth of time are provided annually by volunteers? That’s amazing!

I support the Library financially through my Lifetime Friends membership and donations to the Foundation. Donor support supplements programming such as Summer Reading, the 6×6 program, Teen services, Homework Help and so many more.

The Library has given me so much throughout my life and I’m happy that I can now give back as a volunteer and through financial support. I think it is so important that we all give something back to our community. People in generations before us did that so that we could have access to an award-winning Library. We citizens need to carry on that tradition for future generations!

Join Us September 28 for a Grand Party at the Library!

Library Lets Loose is our annual signature fundraising event for Johnson County Library’s programs and collection. Adult Library lovers (21+ years and older) enjoy this festive fundraiser filled with unique, interactive and creative experiences, tasty local libations and scrumptious food – plus entertainment from local musicians, makers and artists!

Sponsorships are a great way to support the event and participate in this festive fundraiser. Each level of support brings exciting benefits and recognition. Above all, you will help raise vital funds to support the literacy resources at the Johnson County Library that are not possible with county taxes alone.

We would be thrilled to include you as a key sponsor! View the 2019 sponsorship levels and commitment form here. Contact Stephanie Stollsteimer at the JCL Foundation with any questions at (913) 826-4720 or [email protected].

This year’s Honorary Hosts are Asher and Audrey Langworthy!

Watch for more information, including Early Bird Discounts, to come.

oin the fun with our Stay-at-Home host, award-winning picture book author and illustrator SHANE EVANS!

Saturday, June 8 is the annual Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, a virtual fundraiser for Johnson County Library. Funds raised from this year’s event support the Library’s Summer Reading program.

Join the fun with our Stay-at-Home host, award-winning picture book author and illustrator SHANE EVANS! Shane’s books include We March, Underground, Olu’s Dream and Chocolate Me.

Please join us on FaceBook between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., in support of this important cause from the comfort of your favorite reading nook. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Choose a book
  2. Get comfortable at home
  3. Share your reading selfies on social media: #jocobookball
  4. Make a donation to the JCL Foundation!

Support Johnson County Library at your reading level!

Some suggestions:

$3,000 – Rare Book
$1,500 – Reading Room
$500 – Bestseller
$250 – Hardcover
$100 – Classic
$50 – Paperback
$25 – Bedtime Story

Thank you for your continued support!

The new Lenexa City Center Library opened its doors to the public on Sunday, June 2!

According to Library Board chair Bethany Griffith, “This is a really striking and beautiful facility. And we are eager to invite our patrons in so people can start using their new Library right away.”

The new 40,000 square foot building occupies two floors at the Lenexa City Center campus. In addition to high-quality library services, the new space features public meeting rooms, public computers and a robust children’s programming area.

Fast Facts about Lenexa City Center Library
Construction cost: $21.1 million
Size: 40,000+ sq. ft.

Special features:
• Dedicated space for storytime and other children’s programming
• A Drive-Thru service window in the adjacent parking garage
• A Holds Lobby that will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year
• An atrium for guest speakers and events, featuring stunning mosaics by local artist, Stephen T. Johnson
• A variety of seating, 20 PC workstations, as well as multiple charging areas
• Dedicated gathering space and workstations for teens
• Exterior balcony with seating and device power
• 6 meeting/study rooms, including a 36-person meeting room, with wireless A/V

Collection size: 71,000 on Opening Day
• 30,000 Kids, all formats
• 15,000 Adult Fiction, print
• 12,000 Adult Non-fiction, print
• 2600 Teen
• 3000 Adult CD Audio
• 2500 Music CDs
• 5900 DVDs

Technology features:
• Wi-Fi access
• 20 PC workstations
• Power at seats, work stations and balcony
• Wireless AV in Study Rooms

The Library was designed to seamlessly fit into the Lenexa City Center plaza and public market. Its unique design incorporates a large roof with an overhang to provide shade, and limestone terrace seating is built into the exterior landscaping.

2019 Summer Reading program theme


NASA turns 60 this year. The Apollo Moon Landing was 50 years ago. Summer Reading at Johnson County Library highlights this history and inspires kids of all ages to dream big, believe in themselves and create their own stories. The Foundation is pleased to provide support for the Library’s ever popular Summer Reading Program!

From mid-May until the end of July, the Library helps combat summer slide by providing a free book to every child who signs up with the Summer Reading program. Having books at home is strongly linked with academic achievement. By growing children’s personal libraries and helping them find intrinsic value in reading, the Library bridges that summer learning gap and invests in the future of our community.

The Library gave 18,823 books to kids throughout Johnson County last summer, in comparison to 15,000 in 2017. With the opening of our new Monticello Library last August, we project 22,000 books will be distributed this summer.

Help us continue this important service to our community. Please join us on social media June 8, for our annual Stay Home and Read a Book Ball and make your donation to benefit the Library’s Summer Reading program!

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