Foundation Stories

Library Lets Loose is not your typical sit down dinner kind of fundraiser. It’s a choose your own adventure kind of event!” So says Foundation Director Stephanie Stollsteimer. ”The event is a more of a free-form party for adults, with lots of experiences spread throughout the library — all evening long.”

Library Lets Loose is Saturday, September 29 from 6 – 10 pm at Central Resource Library. It’s the Foundation’s signature fundraising event featuring live music, food, drink, silent auction and interactive experiences. Tickets and sponsorships are still available.

“The Library’s theme for fall programming is Women’s Voices,” said Stephanie. “Following along that theme we are incorporating several fabulous live performances from local female bands including, The Black Mariah Theater, Katy Guillen & The Girls, and Jessica Paige, plus a silent auction of original artwork by local women artists.”

Other interactive experiences include hands-on activities in the Black and Veatch MakerSpace, robot drawing and painting by Andy Wise, literary performances by local actors, and trivia contests. Imaginative food and drink pairings will be served throughout the evening from local restaurants – including a signature cocktail!

Included in the festivities will be a Fund a Need campaign for specific Library programming and collections needs, and raffle ticket sales for gift baskets donated by community sponsors. A portion of all sales and donations will directly benefit the Library’s programs and collections.

“If you haven’t visited the Library in a while or, if you’re a frequent visitor, it’s a great way to see the Library in a whole new light,” said Stephanie. “We hope to see you there!”

Listen in to the Library’s special edition podcast to learn more about Library Let’s Loose:

Join our honorary hosts, Valerie and Charley Vogt, for a grand party at the Library on September 29!  

Library Lets Loose
is a festive fundraiser which features unique and creative experiences, tasty local libations, scrumptious food and drink pairings – and local music, artists and creators.

Many of you know Charley for his service on the Johnson County Library Board and his key role in helping the Monticello Library become a reality. He was also very active in civic engagement in Western Shawnee with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and with Country Club Bank. We are fortunate to have Charley and Valerie’s  leadership in the footsteps of past honorary hosts Ann and Bob Regnier, and Carol and Fred Logan.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Contact 913-826-4740 for more information. See you there!

The Monticello Library at 22435 W. 66th Street in Shawnee, is the first new library location in Johnson County since 1994. The new building opened for business August 5 – and we invite you to check it out!

Design for Monticello Library benefited from extensive public input and deep analysis of evolving needs for Library services in the 21st century.  The two-story, 30,000+ square foot building features floor-to-ceiling glass along three sides designed to let in lots of natural light and to be stylishly visible to those driving by on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

The Library and County identified a site in 2010, and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System made a generous donation of adjoining land to provide adequate parking.

The building’s interior incorporates flexible spaces and design strategies so it can adapt to future uses and public needs without requiring physical expansion. There are a number of study rooms and meeting spaces, Mac and PC computer stations, and lots of cozy seating throughout to enjoy the collection. View a PDF of the Monticello Library floor plan tour 

The Foundation is proud to support Monticello Library and extends a heartfelt thank-you to all of our supporters who have contributed financial, in-kind, and volunteer assistance to help open the doors on this newest addition to the JCL system.

A special shout out to the Timken Foundation, which funded the Burgeon unit in the Kids’ 6×6 activity center. This interactive display engages preschoolers and their caregivers in exploring 6 early literacy skills by the age of 6.

Be sure to check out all the great features and offerings at Monticello Library. And, as always, help us to continue to support the great programming and collections at all of the JCL locations.

Global engineering and construction company Black & Veatch is continuing a successful partnership with Johnson County Library as part of the company’s growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach with a renewed 3-year, $90,000 commitment to the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Central Resource Library. The JCL Foundation held a reception July 25 which celebrated this re-commitment.

Johnson County Library named the facility the “Black & Veatch MakerSpace” after an extensive 2016 renovation and enlargement of the space. The partnership is the first of its kind in the Library’s history, with the Library’s Foundation joining Black & Veatch’s Building a World of Difference Foundation to expand the MakerSpace’s size and scope.

The renewed gift permits the MakerSpace to pursue some interesting new projects.

• The Makers of JCL will debut brand-new virtual reality hardware. Library patrons will be able to develop their own VR projects and explore the cutting-edge intersection of 3D modeling, virtual reality and digital fabrication.

• Youth Services librarians will work with teachers to book field trips to the Black & Veatch MakerSpace. Library Makers are also working with teachers and administrators about how they can integrate these technologies in their schools.

• Makers will expand development and circulation of the popular Maker Kits, which will contain equipment that can be checked out.

“The MakerSpace has become a valuable resource that makes science, technology, engineering and math accessible and fun for problem-solvers of all ages,” said Steve Edwards, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black & Veatch. “Having our name attached to the MakerSpace helps the library expand its offerings and keeps STEM-focused activities within reach of the young people in our community.”

“Black & Veatch’s commitment has definitely made a difference in the worlds of our patrons,” said County Librarian Sean Casserley. “The MakerSpace is Johnson County’s home for builders and innovators of all kinds, and we’re pleased to continue this important work with Black & Veatch’s generosity.”

To learn more about Black & Veatch’s growing STEM outreach with the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Central Resource Library, watch the video here.

We’re excited to launch this new website with dynamic features, photos, and functions — all which help to tell the stories of the Library and compel donations to support its programs and collections.

Check out each of the pages and see how dollars donated to the Foundation help the Library offer programs for patrons of all ages and serve the needs of our community– above what public funding provides, including:

  • Collection and resource enrichment
  • Youth homework assistance
  • Art programs
  • Civic engagement programs
  • Early literacy initiatives
  • Youth-at-risk programs
  • Technology and STEAM education

Special thanks to all of you who have made a donation, participated in a fundraising event, or volunteered.  We count on the financial and in-kind support of individuals, businesses, and charitable foundations to grow to meet the ever changing needs in Johnson County. 

Enjoy the website, follow the JCL Foundation on Facebook and Twitter, and make a donation today! 

At the Johnson County Library Board of Directors meeting  June 14, the Foundation was thrilled and honored to present a BIG check in the amount of $82,703!  This check represents  the annual disbursement from the endowment, which supports the Library’s collection.  Pictured (l-r) County  Commissioner Ron Shaffer, Steph Neu, Stephanie Stollsteimer, Nancy Hupp, Anne Blessing, Bethany Griffith, Donna Mertz, and Brandy Butcher.

Save the date!

The Johnson County Library Foundation is excited to announce its annual celebration, The Library Lets Loose!

Saturday, Sept. 29
6 – 10 p.m.
Central Resource Library
Cocktail attire
$75 ticket price* ($60 Early Bird Tickets through July 31)

*$50 for Teachers, Educators and Librarians

Join our honorary hosts, Valerie and Charley Vogt, for a grand party at the Library! This festive fundraiser will feature unique and creative experiences, tasty local libations, scrumptious food and drink pairings – and local music, artists and creators.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Contact 913-826-4740 for more information. See you there!

Tyler Harms is a Senior Software Engineer at Garmin International, Inc.

I’m not the stereotypical library patron. My reading list is embarrassingly light and I take months or years to work through a single book. Despite this, I recognize that the Johnson County Library is a treasure. I regularly find myself in awe of its breadth of offerings and impact on our community. Like most libraries, you can borrow books there, but Johnson County Library is so much more than books! It is a hub for the community’s access to information, entertainment, education, and civic engagement. It is truly world-class, and I’m extremely grateful that it’s here for me to enjoy.

Johnson County Library’s extensive offerings enrich my life in so many ways. I’ve spent my lunch break learning new languages with Mángo and Rosetta Stone. I’ve booked meeting rooms to explore creative and collaborative endeavors with my friends. I love that I can tinker in the Black & Veatch MakerSpace, and the library makes it easy to interact with local legislators through the Legislative Coffee program.

I can’t imagine building an organization as superb as Jonson County Library. Growing up in rural Missouri, our hometown library staff was genuinely dedicated to serving the community, but a lack of funding and community support made it difficult to expand or even maintain their offerings. This is in stark contrast to JCL and makes me appreciate our library that much more.

I give to the Johnson County Library Foundation because we are privileged to have this library in our community, and I believe it is up to us to support its mission however possible. The Library staff are among the most devoted and open-minded individuals I’ve ever encountered. Every time I interact with them I am impressed by how seriously they take the library’s mission, values, and vision. I know institutions like JCL are grown over decades and virtually impossible to replicate, and I want to ensure that the library remains vibrant for many decades to come.

Garmin graciously matches my donation to the Foundation via United Way. I love that I double the impact of my support by teaming up with my employer. If you’re considering donating, see if your organization will match your contribution.

– Tyler Harms

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a very young age. Miss Uppie and Miss Leslie were the librarians and always had a smile and if needed, recommendations. We attended many programs such as “Reading with your Pet,” “Origami” and “Pokeman Parties.” Our boys, now 27 and 24, still use and love the library. Our oldest uses the Johnson County Library online resources frequently and our youngest, who now lives in New York, had to call a week after he moved to tell me that he had been to the New York Public Library to get his card.

To quote Lady Bird Johnson, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

Libraries represent a great equalizer in our society. All are welcome and encouraged to become patrons. They provide books, magazines, genealogy information, meeting rooms, Maker Spaces, Internet access, author talks and a variety of programs. My book club reserves a meeting room once a year to plan out what we want to read. We can stroll through the stacks and chose titles and topics of interest to share with the group.

People say that no one reads “actual” books anymore, yet the Johnson County Library system checks out more than 7,000,000 items a year. Many of those items are eBooks, and I do appreciate the convenience of reading on my iPad, but nothing beats having a real book in your hands. As our world changes, so does the library. It continues to evolve, grow and provide wonderful resources for our community.

Why do I give to the Johnson County Library Foundation? I believe that in any great society we need access to free materials across all economic barriers, and the Library provides that service in our community. It is important to me to be involved and support the important work and programs throughout this system.

-Barbara Nichols 

A quick interview with Johnson County Library  Foundation Volunteer Extraordinaire Beth Welsh.  

Why did you initially become a volunteer with the Johnson County Library Foundation?

I was in a place where I was feeling stuck in rut and was looking for new experiences. Also, I work from home and I wanted to get out of the house and interact with people. My husband Barry is a longtime volunteer for the Library and it seemed like it would be a good fit. I’m a lifetime learner, I always want to be learning new things, I don’t want to stagnate. I began volunteering at Friends book sales in 2007 and became a fill-in cashier for the Friends bookstores in 2011. Volunteering for the Foundation struck me as a fun opportunity to learn new things. I learned WordPress and social media marketing. Fortunately, I didn’t have to learn anything about grant writing!

What are some of your favorite things about being a volunteer?

I love getting to play with books and be around librarians. Library people are awesome – and that includes Foundation people! They’re smart, inquisitive and well informed.

Have you had any discoveries about the Library or the Foundation working as a volunteer?

The Foundation was a new discovery; I didn’t know anything about it before volunteering. I learned about the Foundation’s mission to build an endowment for the Library’s collection and find support for lifelong learning programs offered at the Library. I also discovered the Foundation events. The Pinnacle Awards, Library Lets Loose, Stay Home and Read a Book Ball and elementia. My favorite Foundation event is the Library Lets Loose – it’s pretty amazing. elementia is also a fun event tied to a great mission to encourage teen writers and artists.

Any advice for people who might be on the fence about volunteering?

Try it! There are so many outlets for volunteering at the Library. Visit a branch, or the Friends sorting center or bookstore – see what interests you. Volunteer coordinators can connect you with a volunteer opportunity that works with your schedule and meets your interests. If it sounds like fun, give it a shot.

  • 1
  • 2

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