The first Johnson County Library branch opened its doors on June 3, 1953, in the old Dunbar School in Shawnee at 57th and Reeder. Although voters had approved establishing the Library the previous year, no funding was available. The Johnson County Library Committee and the new Library Board organized volunteers to bring library service to the area. In 1955, funding was located and the volunteer libraries were gradually taken over by paid staff. The Shawnee Library moved into rented space a block west of Nieman Road on Johnson Drive. Unfortunately, a budget cut in 1958 required closing the Shawnee Library. For the next 34 years, Shawnee would be served from the Antioch Library.