Foundation Stories

The Johnson County Library Foundation had planned to gather April 19 at Central to thank members of the 1952 Society, who make planned bequests, and Readers Circle, the Library’s most generous donors.

Featured speaker was to be Dr. Schuyler Jones, a renowned explorer and retired Oxford professor who is said to be the inspiration for Hollywood hero Indiana Jones.

With the pandemic, it looked as if the appreciation event would have to be canceled. But the Foundation was undaunted and created a “virtual” gathering, with Jones present via “Zoom” from his Sedgwick County home.

“He’s an adventurer,” said Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Stollsteimer, adding that Jones, 90, was eager to try something new.

Jones described growing up on a Kansas farm without electricity or indoor plumbing but with wonderful parents and a love of reading. At age 20 he began his travels, which took him to Africa, Afghanistan and countless exotic ports of call.

“I’ve been extraordinarily lucky,” he told participants. Travel in the 1950s and 1960s was cheap and safe. Even in the remotest villages he was treated as an honored guest. He learned multiple languages and had amazing escapades, including tiger hunting with the King of Nepal. He eventually ran one of Britain’s most esteemed museums, the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford.

The “Zoom” presentation also featured Jones’ stunning photographs of the people, architecture and scenery he encountered.

For anyone wanting more about his story, Jones’ most recent book is “A Stranger Abroad: A Memoir.”

-By Lynn Horsley

Maker Angelica Sandoval

Black & Veatch MakerSpace makers are doing some amazing work producing CDC approved masks for front-line workers. They’ve assembled sewing kits from donated fabric from a company called Twirl Connect. In addition, they are making face shields from laser cut plastic and 3D printer plastic with supplies purchased by Black & Veatch.

Makers Angelica Sandoval and Nick Ward-Bopp are leading the cloth mask production effort.

“We knew that many Library  staff know how to sew, but we were not sure which materials to use, which mask styles were approved by hospitals, or how to identify hospitals in need,” Ward-Bopp said.

After connecting with Johnson County Emergency Management Services, the makers found that 100 percent cotton fabric is preferred, and the County is accepting donations at their Med-Act station.

With Twirl Connect’s donation of 150 yards of cotton fabric, he and Sandoval put together kits for staff that include fabric, patterns, and thread. Library Adult Services Manager Kinsley Riggs, with help from her mother, spent an entire weekend cutting the fabric for the kits.

As of April 7, more than 35 staff had sewn 517 masks.

“It’s not often we get to have that sort of direct community impact,” Ward-Bopp said. “I’m thankful to everyone who has stepped up to help.”

Donated masks are being delivered through EMS to Johnson County Developmental Supports and will be used for staff who continue to do residential visits.

“We want to help get masks into the hands of medical professionals, first responders, and anyone on the front lines who are treating or working in proximity with COVID-19 patients or public,” Ward-Bopp said. “Making a mask may not seem like a big act, but it could save a life.”

In addition to cloth masks, Makers Thomas Mailloux and Brian Oertel are coordinating the production of 3D printed parts for face shields. Six 3D printers run day and night in the MakerSpace, printing the headbands used on the shields with materials purchased by Black & Veatch. Several printers are on loan from the MakerLab at Johnson County Community College, and other community partners are pitching in with material and hardware to help the effort.

The machines can print two headbands at a time, and each print job takes seven hours, Riggs said. She estimates that the makers are making 18 face shields per day. Black and Veatch has provided most of the materials however, the team needs more supplies.

“Supplies for making masks and shields are starting to become scarce,” said MakerSpace Facilitator Brian Oertel. “It has forced us to be a little more creative in finding materials.”

Filament for 3D printing is becoming hard to find, as well as acetate inserts. Elastic has also been in short supply. Makers are prototyping creative solutions, like using Avery plastic dividers as inserts and pipe cleaners to create a moldable nose piece for the cloth masks.

“The goal is to provide products that can lengthen the life of medical grade PPE or provide people some barrier to infection,” Oertel said. “If we can’t be physically near others, we can still offer something to the community.”

The makers continue to search for creative solutions to supply shortages and will be reaching out to the private businesses for help. They will also keep doing what they do best – creating solutions where it seems like none exist.

“We are investigating printing other things beside face masks,” Oertel said. “There are designs out there for ventilation splitters, to allow multiple patients to use one ventilator.

“If we as makers can do anything to help those people dealing with the pandemic head on, we have to try,” Oertel said.

– Laura Hunt, JCL Internal Communications Manager

Every now and then, in the life of a non-profit organization, individuals become involved who hold that organization in such high esteem, they go above and beyond to lend their support. The Johnson County Library is fortunate to have two such individuals: Carol and Fred Logan.

Carol and Fred have given decades of dedication and support to the Library and in 2019 they took it one more step. They asked if they could make a lead gift to establish a fund to benefit the Library well into the future. The result of their interest is the establishment of a new fund, The Johnson County Library Leadership Fund.

This fund will provide financial support to enhance leadership development opportunities for Johnson County Library staff. The Logans believe that the Johnson County Library staff is the finest in the United States and leadership development is essential for growth into the future.

Carol and Fred’s lead gift will do just that. Lead the way for other donors to join in this significant philanthropic initiative. In fact, the JCL Foundation board of directors voted to match the lead gift one-to-one and so the total of the fund to date is $120,000. The Johnson County Library Leadership Fund will be an endowed fund to last in perpetuity. To make a donation to add to the fund, please contact Teresea Simpson, [email protected].

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 this exclusive, one of a kind experience offered by the JCL Foundation. Note: Due to the current Coronavirus quarantine, this event has been rescheduled for the Fall. The new date and time will be announced in the coming weeks. Thank you for your flexibility!

Live Fire Grill and Brew!

$100 per person/30 spots
Date: TBD

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.

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

During this difficult time in our community, the Johnson County Library Foundation is as committed as ever to supporting our partners at Johnson County Library. You can follow progress and get updates on the Library’s COVID-19 responses here.