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New Year brings new changes

December 29, 2020

By Elissa Andre

Johnson County Library has big changes in store for 2021!

With the start of the New Year, our hours and services are still amended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re excited for new spaces, new programs and new ways to bring the library to you.

Building Updates

Central Resource Library, 9875 W 87th St., Overland Park, is set to complete its Central building upgrade in 2021. The first phase of Central’s remodel completed work in 2015. Construction of both staff and public areas is anticipated to begin in mid-February and last through the fall.

While most of the building will close to staff and the public during construction, a small portion of the branch is anticipated to remain open as “Little Central.” Little Central will offer access to holds, pick-up, materials return, public computers and printing, wi-fi and restrooms.

In addition to its public service staff, Central is home to many departments that support all 14 branches and is considered the hub of the Johnson County Library system.

Once construction is complete, you will feel the positive impact on library service with noticeable efficiency, more services and better use of resources.

Among the planned improvements are an updated teen section, a relocated kid’s area with a dedicated storytime room and additional public meeting rooms. Central will also join Blue Valley, Lenexa City Center and Monticello as a location offering a drive-thru holds pickup window.

And while construction on the new library in Merriam, a relocation of the current Antioch branch at 8700 Shawnee Mission Pkwy., isn’t set to begin until 2022, Johnson County Library will seek public input for the design of the building in early 2021. Keep an eye on our website, jocolibrary.org, for updates and details on both Merriam and Central Resource libraries.

Programs and Events

All Johnson County Library programming will remain virtual through spring 2021. The full list of spring programs and events, along with registration information, is now live at jocolibrary.org/events. Event information can also be found in the spring Library Guide, available now in our branches. A few highlights include:

  • Jan. 21: Civics 101 – Federalism and the Branches of Government
  • Jan. 26: Artists in Sight – A Conversation with Chico Serra, muralist, poet and musician
  • Feb. 18: Exposing the Myths of Retirement Investing

Facebook Live Book Parties at 2 p.m. every Wednesday. And beginning Feb. 3, AARP will offer their popular Tax-Aide Program at the Oak Park branch, 9500 Bluejacket St., Overland Park. Tax-Aide offers free tax assistance and preparation for low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those ages 60 and older. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service.

Tax preparation will be by appointment only and will follow strict COVID safety protocols, which may vary based on public health recommendations at the time the program begins. Appointments can be made starting mid-January on KStaxaide.com.

Service Updates

We’re excited to expand our Curbside Holds Pickup service in late January or early February at the Oak Park and Spring Hill branches. Oak Park and Spring Hill will join Cedar Roe, Gardner and Leawood Pioneer locations in offering the curbside service. Johnson County Library anticipates continuing the service well into the future, thanks to positive initial feedback from patrons.

Curbside Holds Pickup – along with our drive-thru windows at Blue Valley, Lenexa City Center and Monticello branches – especially receives high marks from patrons with mobility issues and families with small children. Look for dates and details at jocolibrary.org/curbside.

Elissa Andre is external communication manager for Johnson County Library.