libraries

Courtesy Sharon Rodriguez

As election season cranks into post-Labor Day fury, the Johnson County Library wants to provoke conversations about democracy and activism.

It's doing so with events titled Bear Witness, kicking off on Thursday with an art opening intended to “bear witness to the events and issues of the past and present, and to postulate those in the future.”

One literal witness is photographer Sharon Rodriguez, who has spent the past year interviewing and taking photographs of homeless people in Johnson County.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Robert and Karen Duncan are well-known art collectors in Lincoln, Nebraska – but they haven’t forgotten their hometown in southwest Iowa.

The couple moved to Lincoln in the 1960s, when Robert came to run the family business, Duncan Aviation, a massive airplane service business. They also started collecting art. Forty years later, they had amassed a significant collection, and built a home designed to display it, on forty acres landscaped for a sculpture garden.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. DaRon McGee (D-Kansas City) talks about gun legislation, libraries, and ethics reform.

Guests:

  The dog days of summer are just around the corner ... or maybe they’re already here. One way that kids can beat them is with a great book. Our panel of librarians were here again with their favorite titles of the summer.

Guests:

  • Debbie McLeod, retired librarian.
  • Dennis Ross, director of youth services at the Johnson County Public Library.
  • Lacie Griffin, collection development specialist at the Johnson County Public Library. 

Books:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may look like just another hefty tome, but Shakespeare's First Folio is a big deal. Up To Date hit the road for a live, first-hand look at one of the most valuable, and rare, literary documents in the English language.

Guests:

Jim Mathis for Johnson County Library

Christopher Leitch, the library's community relations coordinator, says after nine months of construction at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, there was lots of anticipation — even before the doors re-opened to the public at 9 a.m. on Friday. 

"We had a line of people at 8:45 a.m., waiting for their new library to be available," said Leitch. 

Penguin Random House

Are you stumped looking for last-minute gifts for the kids and teens in your life? How about the gift of shape shifting or time traveling? 

It's all possible between the covers of a good book, and these selections represent the best that 2015 had to offer in the way of children's literature.

Johnson County Librarians Dennis Ross and Kate McNair and retired librarian Debbie McLeod offer some recommendations to keep kids and teens reading well into 2016.

For preschool through 2nd grade:

Courtesy Mexican Consulate in Kansas City

English-only speakers might not be able to read Spanish, but they'll likely recognize the emotions, situations and imaginary worlds created by children's book illustrators from Mexico on display at the Kansas City Public Library. 

A book is often evaluated by the words it contains, but what value does a book with no words have? It turns out that wordless books can bolster creativity for both children and adults.

Guests:

Dial Books

Summer vacation has officially started and for many parents, that means a lot of free time to fill for their kids.

How about a trip to the ancient Martial Empire or to a faraway desert island? These summer reading picks will take your young ones to some of the most remote edges of the earth.

Johnson County Librarians Dennis Ross and Kate McNair and retired librarian Debbie McLeod selected some titles to keep kids and teens reading all summer long.

Recommendations for ages 3-10

  • Smick! By Coreen Cronin, illustrated by Juana Medina. Ages 3 – 6.
  • Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton, Ages 4 - 8.
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson, Ages 5-10.
  • Billy’s Booger: a Memior (Sorta) by William Joyce and his younger self. Ages 5 – 10.
  • Princess In Black by Shannon Hale, Ages 6-9. 
Johnson County Public Library

As we increasingly turn to Google and other search engines  for our information needs, is the library becoming obsolete?

Educator and technology expert John Palfrey doesn't think so, though he thinks it needs a system update.

courtesy: Johnson County Library

The Johnson County Library Foundation recently announced a $70,360 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The funds will boost the scope of the MakerSpace at the Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park, Kan. 

The MakerSpace opened in 2013. It’s where you can learn to sew, record music, or print something in 3-D.

Kate McNair, teen services coordinating librarian, says demand for the MakerSpace, with its tools and technology, exceeds capacity. 

Alex Smith / KCUR

Say you’re researching for a book report. Or looking up local history. Maybe you want to learn to some do-it-yourself home repair. Chances are good you’ll log on to the internet and get your answers in a few minutes without leaving your chair.

This leaves old-fashioned libraries with a problem: how to get people back to the stacks.

One local library has a unique solution for facing the future by embracing the past. The new branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library literally joins a 21st century building with a pre-Civil War home.

2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

Demographers predict that by the year 2050, African-Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latino/Hispanics, and Native Americans will constitute the majority of Americans.