Spreading the JCPL Story

Our staff members are "Spreading the JCPL Story" by contributing bi-weekly columns in the Daily Journal. 

Erin Cataldi
Reading a Gift That Keeps Giving

Erin Cataldi / Adult and Teen Services Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch
December 22, 2022

Reading is a gift. It may not be one you can wrap up and put under the Christmas tree, but it is a gift that can be given.

Whether you are teaching your child to read, tutoring someone or reading aloud to elderly persons, reading is a joy and it is the gift that keeps on giving. Reading unlocks so many possibilities and opens so many doors. Studies show that reading could help reduce mental decline in old age by 32%. Reading can also reduce stress by up to 68% which is more than listening to music, having a cup of tea or taking a walk.

So, how can you give reading as a gift? Well, of course, you can gift books, but there are many other opportunities as well. You can gift the love of reading to your children; make a big deal out of getting them their first library card. Did you know when your children sign up for their first library card that they get a free backpack and lanyard as well? You could put those items along with their shiny new card in their stocking. Not only will it gift them the love of reading, but it’s also an experience going to the library.

Visiting the library can be a fun, free weekly activity for the whole family to enjoy year-round. Also, reading to children is magical. I still fondly remember being read bedtime stories.

You can also gift your time by tutoring those who need literacy assistance or reading to those who suffer medical ailments and have lost the ability to read themselves. For those who are interested in tutoring others, contact Wendy Preilis at the Adult Learning Center, 317-738-4677, in our Clark Pleasant Branch Library to get matched up with a learner in need. With just a few hours of your time, you could change someone’s life. If you’re interested in reading to those who can no longer read themselves, contact your local senior services center. Reading to adults is just as rewarding as reading to kids. Finding the right book, story or poem to keep them captivated is worth every moment.

One of my favorite editorial cartoons featured a little kid sitting on Santa’s lap saying, “I want books, computers … and the ability to travel through time and space!” In response, Santa says, “OK … here’s a library card!”

Kalijah Hessig
Library Offers Volunteer Opportunities

Kalijah Hessig / Franklin College intern, Clark Pleasant Branch
December 7, 2022

Giving back to the community through volunteer work is one of the most rewarding opportunities Johnson County Public Library provides.

I have been an intern at the Clark Pleasant Branch since late August. I have always loved what public libraries do for the community, having spent countless hours of my youth at my local libraries. When I was searching for an internship and got accepted at the Clark Pleasant Branch, all I thought was, “Awesome, I get to spend a lot of time around books!” But as I spent more time at the branch, I got to see just how much JCPL cares about the community and the amount of work that goes into providing wonderful services to Johnson County. I had always enjoyed the services libraries provide, but I never really gave much thought to how a member of the community, such as myself, could be part of giving back through volunteer work.

Throughout my internship, I have had the opportunity to play a part in a few programs the Clark Pleasant Branch does for the benefit of the community. I have regularly organized and packed Lit Loot bags, a program that sends out library books, snacks to enjoy while reading, fun stickers and a book to keep, to teens in the local community each month. It fosters a love of reading in young minds and helps teens start to build their own library at home.

I also helped with the Read to Me Jamboree at the Clark Pleasant Branch. I got to help set up all the tables and chairs before the event. I took shifts at the welcome table near the front, interacting with members of the community and directing them to all of the lovely events and guests throughout the day. I also got to take a shift at one of the many children’s literacy activities, helping children practice their writing skills using sand. The Read to Me Jamboree was a great success with the children getting to meet Daniel Tiger, hearing a book read by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Oge Mora, seeing a canine unit and a firetruck and much more.

Being part of these events for the community was one of the most rewarding experiences I have been part of during my stay in Johnson County. There is such a level of joy to be had when you can give back to your community, and one of the best places to do that is at one of the Johnson County Public Library Branches. The experience has been so rewarding that I plan to continue volunteering at the Clark Pleasant Branch after the end of my official internship. If you would like to share in this experience, consider volunteering at your local JCPL Branch.

Volunteering opportunities include:

Tutoring Adult Learners: Volunteer tutors in the Adult Learning Center help community members with low English literacy skills or those learning English as a Second Language develop basic language skills. Volunteers are needed for both one-on-one and small-group learning.

A-B-C Read to Me Program: Volunteers visit new parents at Johnson Memorial Hospital. Volunteers give the parents books and library materials that guide them through introducing early literacy practices to their children.

For more volunteering opportunities and information on how to become a volunteer visit PageAfterPage.org/volunteer.

Adult Services Librarian Jenelle Erickson-Bejarano in black shirt
Navigating Your History With the Library

Jenelle Erickson-Bejarano / Adult Services Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch
November 23, 2022

Have you ever wondered how you could possibly be related to Uncle Bob or Aunt Molly? It is at times when we gather with family and friends that we hear stories about people and places that we know little about. Sometimes we even hear a story that is unexpected and leaves us with questions.

I grew up listening to stories about family members’ service in the military and school sports achievements. I even have a box of old photos with people standing behind a grocery store counter and a faint recollection of how that photo came to be from an out-of-state uncle suffering from the slow decline of dementia. These stories have helped me define who I am and my family history. I always go to the library when I have questions about history – even if they are about my personal history.

I know my uncle has worked hard to keep his mind strong with activities like puzzles, sports and a healthy lifestyle, but some facts slip away with time. He, along with his wife, are former teachers, advocates for and volunteers at their local library. The library isn’t just a place where you can conduct research; it’s a community where you can find support for those unanswered questions. When I joined the staff of the Johnson County Public Library, I learned about the historical resources located at the Franklin Branch’s Historical Room. I visited to learn more about how I can access local property, birth, death and military records. I learned more about the Johnson County community, surrounding communities and the state.

Johnson County residents can access Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest Online or the Indiana Digital Archives with their Johnson County Public Library card. Cardholders can visit any JCPL Branch and log into a library computer to access Ancestry.com to find birth and death certificates, military records and more about distant family members.

I have been fortunate enough to have a strong network of family members, genealogy enthusiasts and librarians interested in conducting genealogical research. They located many of these records long before I began conducting my research. However, through Ancestry.com, I was able to connect with other distant relatives and even do a DNA test to identify my genetic heritage. My family and I have traveled across the state, into Illinois, and have plans to visit other parts of the world based on the information we found using these resources. I never would have been able to make these connections had I not used my library card.

Visit PageAfterPage.org/research to start your genealogy journey.

Foundation Makes Our Libraries Better

Photo of JCPL Foundation President Caleb Drake

Caleb Drake / President of the JCPL Foundation
November 9, 2022

At public libraries, patrons are empowered to freely learn and broaden their horizons. They are one of the last institutions that everyone in the community from the cradle through retirement can enjoy.

I’ve always loved libraries, and for several years now have had the honor of serving on the board of the JCPL Foundation. This term, I was elected as the Foundation’s president. It’s been a whirlwind of a year.

Many facets of JCPL have expanded thanks to community support of the JCPL Foundation and Friends of JCPL. Six special projects were funded coinciding with the opening of the new Clark Pleasant Branch. Among those: a state-of-the-art STEAM lab where we can experiment with robotics and 3D printing; an Early Childhood Development Zone where kids and their adults can get hands-on with all sorts of shape, color, and motor skill activities; and numerous community art and nature installations. Dear to me is the Adult Learning Center also within the Clark Pleasant Branch Library.

I started shelving books and helping out with circulation at my middle school’s library, and I eventually found myself working at my college’s library shelving and moving books in the summer. As a language fanatic, when an opportunity to volunteer to tutor English with JCPL’s Adult Learning Center (ALC) cropped up in 2017, I couldn’t pass it up. The ALC embodies empowerment. It is a place dedicated to enhancing the quality of life by improving literacy and providing basic education for adults. Being an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor continues to yield lifelong friendships and provides the knowledge that the work we’re doing simultaneously helps people and strengthens our community.

Going from volunteer to board member to president of an entity that impacts my entire community has been surreal. It’s been eye-opening seeing the good that’s being done by our librarians and the staff behind the scenes, getting to know the people who visit the branches and securing the financial stability of JCPL programs for generations to come.

In 2023, you’ll see the return of several popular events as well as some fresh ones sprinkled throughout the year. Meet New York Times bestselling authors throughout the year as part of the Authors at JCPL series. Keep summer learning loss at bay with the Explore Summer program; this year residents logged 3.1 million reading minutes. You will be able to take a step back in time and explore pioneer life at the Trafalgar Branch’s Library on the Prairie festival.

The JCPL Foundation and the Friends of JCPL help the library to be more than a place to borrow books. It’s a place to learn, grow and engage with your family, friends and neighbors. We appreciate the support that so many Johnson County residents and businesses have given to the Foundation. If you would like to learn more about the Foundation, please visit JCPLF.org. You can also donate to support life-long learning at the Johnson County Public Library at JCPLF.org/Donate.

Erin Cataldi
It’s All Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

Erin Cataldi / Adult and Teen Services Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch
October 19, 2022

Pumpkin spice, jack-o'-lanterns, candy corn, costumes and thrills—no one celebrates Halloween the way Americans do. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, in what is now known as Ireland, but has taken on a life of its own here in America. Samhain was a pagan celebration that celebrated the harvest by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts and other spirits. Pieces of the 2,000-year-old celebration remain—carved pumpkins, costumes and ghosts—but over the years it has morphed into an American tradition involving trick-or-treating and staggering amounts of sugary candy.

Even here in Johnson County, we have our unique customs which include closing Martin Street so children can run down the middle of the road and ogle at some of the best-decorated houses in Franklin, Scarecrow Madness in which residents all over the county deck out scarecrows in outfits to benefit Johnson County Senior Services, the Halloween Town festival in downtown Franklin and various Trick Your Trunks all over the county.

Even the Johnson County Public Library has spooky offerings: trick-or-treat storytimes, pumpkin decorating, Halloween treat making, a horror movie series, spooky crafts and lectures on paranormal activities and local hauntings. To see the full list of offerings, go to any Branch or visit PageAfterPage.org/events.

In addition to the many programs JCPL is hosting this October, we also have a huge collection of books, DVDs and digital resources to get you in the spooky spirit. Picture books about costumes and pumpkins, Goosebumps novels, every Stephen King book written, slasher films, scary music CDs and so much more.

Here are my top 5 Halloween picks:

“The Halloween Tree,” DVD – Four kids try to save the spirit of their friend Pip from the ghosts of Halloween’s past, and they discover the magic and meaning of Halloween and friendship. A Cartoon Network movie based on Ray Bradbury’s novel. For all ages.

“October Dreams,” Book – A literary collection celebrating Halloween traditions, memories, poems and more. Features stories written by: Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury and more. For adults and teens.

“Tales of Terror” by Edgar Allan Poe – America’s first horror novelist will always have a spot on my list. His stories and poems are best read aloud. For adults and teens.

“20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill – Stephen King’s son is just as good at horror writing as his dad. This short story collection is all scares and contains The Black Phone, the inspiration for a terrifying new horror movie starring Ethan Hawke. For adults.

“Halloween,” DVD – John Carpenter’s 1978 classic is a must-watch every October. Haddonfield always reminds me of Franklin which makes it that much creepier. For teens and adults.

Big or small, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this Halloween month. Don’t forget to check out Johnson County Public Library for books, movies, programs and more.

Like Humbert Wolfe said: “We’ve had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

How Libraries Impact Our Community

Jody Veldkamp

Jody Veldkamp / JCPL Marketing and Communications Manager
October 5, 2022

In a digital world, libraries and their paper books can be easily overlooked. Your local public library is a vibrant part of your community because it is far more than books. Two years ago, I accepted the Library's Marketing and Communications Manager position, and I now see daily all the things we do that help our community.

No-Cost Meeting Rooms: If you need a place for your HOA’s annual meeting or your quilting club, we can help. All four Branches and the administration building in downtown Franklin offer no-cost meeting rooms.

Informational and Entertainment Opportunities: From international relations to outdoor movies, JCPL offers a variety of programs. JCPL recently hosted a program on the Ukraine and Russia war presented by Franklin College professors. Our program gave perspective on the events and reminded people that even when news media drifts away from a topic it does not mean it is not important.

The Read to Me Jamboree, an early literacy festival, brought award-winning children’s author and illustrator Oge Mora to Johnson County. Fifty families received a copy of her latest book. Kids also met a police K-9 officer and saw a fire truck.

The following week, we hosted an outdoor showing of a family movie at Independence Park. The Historic Artcraft Theatre provided popcorn and our partner at the event, Johnson County Parks, kept the park open longer than normal so everyone could enjoy a beautiful evening outdoors.

Literacy: Our Adult Learning Center (ALC) helps people get their GED, improve their adult basic education skills and even learn English as a Second Language. When Juan moved to Johnson County, he had a dream of opening a restaurant, but he didn’t speak English. The ALC and their tutors were available to help. Now Juan owns and operates two restaurants, one in Whiteland and one in Nineveh, providing food and opportunities to area residents.

Focus on Health: Healthy lifestyles come in many forms with many challenges. JCPL does things as simple and fun as Preschool Yoga Storytime. We help address serious issues as well. We recently installed Naloxboxes outside all our Branches funded by a grant received by Upstream Prevention. Next up is a grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation that will allow us to install AEDs (automated external defibrillators) in our buildings. Over the next 12 months, we will roll out community health initiatives and programs to improve the health of Johnson County residents.

Boost the Economy: Our services help small businesses and save people money. If you need to fax or scan a document, if you need a notary, if you want to take training on more than 18,000 topics, or just pick up the latest bestseller on how to improve your business, all you need is a Library card. And when a patron borrows a book, instead of buying a book, it leaves money in their pocket to spend elsewhere in the community.

A recent American Library Association survey found that 71% of voters and parents hold librarians in high regard and have confidence in their libraries to make good decisions. Perhaps, if everyone knew how much libraries contribute to the community, that impressive number would even be higher.

Stefanie Davis
Library Focuses on Accessibility

Stefanie Davis / Adult Services Librarian, White River Branch
September 21, 2022

Libraries are for everyone.

Johnson County Public Library is always looking for new ways to make our buildings and resources more accessible. The library has a variety of services and tools to increase accessibility.

For services, we offer both curbside and to-your-door home delivery. Curbside is intended for anyone who can make it to the library but doesn’t wish to come inside. This service is great for parents with young kids. Patrons will call their branch when they arrive, and staff will bring their items to their car. Additionally, the library offers delivery services for anyone unable to come to the library due to disability or illness. Patrons can contact their nearest JCPL branch to set up a date and time for no-contact delivery to their home.

In addition to the services mentioned above, the library offers items to increase accessibility in our buildings. Each JCPL Branch has the following mobility devices available for use while visiting the library: adult-sized wheelchair, rollator walker, shopping cart and shopping baskets.

Each branch also has dedicated accessibility workstations or assistive technology items available for use while in the library. These items include a large-print keyboard and a trackball mouse, so you can comfortably use our public computers and laptops. We also have sensory kits available for use during your visit. These kits contain a variety of items including a pressure mesh vest, an eye mask, a sensory brush and a sensory tunnel. Ask a staff member at a Welcome Desk to borrow noise-muffling headphones for adults and children.

Our Library of Things includes assistive technology tools that can be checked out with a library card. These include Enchroma glasses, a Ruby HD magnifier and Memory Kits. Enchroma glasses can help those with color blindness be able to see colors without losing accuracy or clarity. The Ruby HD is a handheld electronic magnifier that can display more text than a traditional magnifier and magnify text up to 24 times. Memory Kits are available for those who work with or are a caregiver to someone with dementia or other memory impairment. These kits contain items such as puzzles, games, books, CDs, DVDs and other sensory items to help engage the individual in a meaningful experience.

Library staff can also help you search for accessible materials via our catalog, locate accessibility features within our digital resources and use assistive technology available with our computers.

We welcome suggestions for accessibility tools or resources that patrons find helpful. If you are interested in learning more about the library’s accessibility resources and services, visit PageAfterPage.org/accessibility. The library is a welcoming space for all.

Chris Kolderup

Read to Me Jamboree, a Play and Learn Literacy Festival

Christina Kolderup / Children's Services Manager, White River Branch
September 7, 2022

Most kids learn to read around the time they start going to school, but years of educational research demonstrate that the groundwork for reading success is laid long before the school years start – from birth onward.

If you are a parent, grandparent, caregiver, or otherwise have young children in your life, this may sound intimidating. But the good news is there are lots of easy, fun ways to get your kiddo ready to read. We call these concepts early literacy, and here at Johnson County Public Library — and libraries all over the country — we support early literacy with a passion.

All of our baby, toddler and preschool programs incorporate the early literacy concepts outlined by the Every Child Ready to Read framework. Every Child Ready to Read outlines five different practices – singing, talking, reading, writing and playing – that help develop early literacy skills. Kids who attend our programs benefit from these activities and caregivers actively learn practices they can incorporate into play and learning activities.

At JCPL, we love early literacy fun so much that we planned a whole festival around it. We hope preschool and early elementary students and their families join us on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the new Clark Pleasant Branch Library in Whiteland for our first Read to Me Jamboree. This fun-filled free event starts at 10 a.m. and features nationally-renowned entertainers, giveaways, refreshments and of course, lots of opportunities to learn and enjoy helpful early literacy practices.

Oge Mora, award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, will join us. Her books have received the Caldecott Honor and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Multigenerational families will love her picture book "Saturday" which follows a child spending the day with her grandmother. She will lead activities and sign books at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The first 50 families at each of Oge Mora’s appearances will receive one of her books.

We’ll also be joined by Jim Gill, the family-favorite musician. Jim’s seven award-winning CDs have been staples of library storytime and family dance parties for years, and his expertise in child development and special needs make his concerts a truly joyous occasion for all ages. Don’t miss Jim’s performance at 3 p.m.

For some kids, the biggest celebrity of the day will be Daniel Tiger who will visit for photo opportunities throughout the day courtesy of our friends at WFYI. Kids have been loving and learning from Daniel Tiger for ten years on his popular PBS Kids program Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Many of us grew up with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the show whose “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” inspired Daniel Tiger’s show, which is a worthy successor.

This wonderful event would not be possible without the support of 100+ Women Who Care and the Rotary Clubs of Johnson County. Their generosity and participation are so greatly appreciated. The Rotary Clubs’ support is also funding upcoming enhancements to the Clark Pleasant Branch’s nature trail; watch for the installation of fun children’s interactive features along the trail later this fall.

There’s so much else going on at the Read to Me Jamboree, but we don’t have room to tell you about all of it. Visit PageAfterPage.org/jamboree to see the full schedule of events. We’ll see you and your family at the library on Sept. 17.

Jasmin Sohal

How the Library Can Help You Grow Your Social Media Presence

Jasmin Sohal / Shelver, Clark Pleasant Branch
August 17, 2022

In this day and age, social media plays a big role in many of our lives. Whether it’s what we post or the content we consume, it has become a staple of this generation, especially as influencer culture becomes more mainstream. However, reaching a large number of followers may seem like something unrealistic to most. But, there are a growing amount of free resources around you that can aid in the growth of your social media platform, including but not limited to Johnson County Public Library.

The most obvious JCPL resource is books, of course! Whether it’s the niche that your content is based on or general books about your internet presence, we have all those topics (and more) available in print, as e-books or in audio formats. Our collections have a wide variety of titles such as “Instagram Influencer Secrets” by Charlotte Sterling or “Social Media Made Me Rich” by Matthew Loop.

If you can’t find the exact title you may want, the Interlibrary Loan function is valuable for that exact reason. It makes virtually any book accessible through a program that allows you to borrow items not owned by JCPL from other libraries around the country. Just request a title online, on the phone or in person at one of our reference desks.

As for the actual act of content creation itself—there are many different resources to take advantage of in the Library of Things which is exactly what it sounds like—things that can be checked out by JCPL cardholders!

There are Experience Passes that offer free or reduced admission to local attractions that can be checked out for up to a week, depending on the location. Cardholders can choose from a variety of attractions, including the Indiana Medical History Museum, Franklin Family Aquatic Center and more! Checking out these Experience Passes and visiting these locations can serve as great material to craft a review of your experience, a quick photo op or to include in a list of local recommendations for your audience! Not to mention they are, simply put, fun experiences with or without social media.

Along with those, mobile hot spots can be checked out. They provide an internet connection for up to 10 devices and you can borrow them for up to two weeks. You need to be a JCPL cardholder at least 18 years of age. These can expand your internet access to places where you may typically not possess it, and allow you to post on the go!

The Library of Things also contains a variety of board games, baking kits and instruments. No matter what your topic of posts is on your platform, there is something that delves into your interests.

When it comes to editing the content you produce, there are desktop computers and laptops available for use. Borrow a laptop and lounge around the public areas of the Library, or reserve a study room for more privacy.

The aforementioned resources, along with many more, can aid in the production and publishing of your social media content, and thus your platform growth. For a full list of resources and details available at each JCPL Branch, visit PageAfterPage.org.

Stefanie Davis

Need Help with Technology? Visit the Library

Stefanie Davis / Adult Services Librarian, White River Branch
August 3, 2022

Did you purchase a new device on Prime Day and need a little help using it?

If so, you are in luck! Johnson County Public Library has many resources to help you learn the basics and expand your digital literacy skills.

All four Branches offer a service called Book-A-Librarian which allows individuals to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a staff member to get up to one hour of personalized assistance. Library staff can help you access the library’s databases and digital resources. They can help you learn computer, internet and e-mail basics, and how to use select government and employment sites. If any question is beyond our scope of knowledge, we will refer you to the appropriate community resource. Those who need assistance can bring in their device or use a library computer.

Anyone interested in receiving one-on-one help can complete a brief questionnaire at PageAfterPage.org/BookALibrarian. Once the questionnaire is received, a library staff member from your chosen branch will contact you to schedule an appointment. Individuals may also call or visit a Branch to schedule an appointment for personalized assistance.

In addition to personalized help from library staff, JCPL offers many digital resources to help you learn new skills or expand existing ones. Many of those resources can be found on our website at PageAfterPage.org/research. One that I often recommend to patrons is LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning offers short videos, courses and learning paths that combine several related courses. Users can go at their own pace and watch a portion or all of a video or course. If an entire course is completed, you receive a certificate of completion. These certificates can be added to a resume to assist with job searching. With a Johnson County Public Library card, you can access this resource from the comfort of your home.

Additionally, the library subscribes to Gale Courses for JCPL cardholders. These online, instructor-led courses start new each month and run for six weeks. The tasks and quizzes have to be completed by a set date to complete the full course.

In addition to great resources like LinkedIn Learning and Gale Courses, library staff can also point you to other electronic and community resources. Whether you need assistance navigating a new device or you’re interested in developing new skills with at-home resources from the library, JCPL is here to help.

Elyssa Everling

Experience the Prairie at Trafalgar Branch

Elyssa Everling / Adult Services Librarian, Trafalgar Branch
July 20, 2022

Johnson County Public Library offers many resources and services to our patrons and community. You might think of books, video games, DVDs, programs, notaries, printing and faxing at first. But did you know we also offer outdoor educational experiences? The native prairie at the Trafalgar Branch Library offers opportunities for you to explore the outdoors while also learning. Here is some information about the prairie to know before you explore it yourself.

Years before Indiana was settled, 15% of the landscape stretching from Ohio to Missouri was covered in prairies. Due to human settlement, that has been reduced to just 1% during modern times. The grasses of the prairie provide an ecologically friendly alternative to traditional landscaping while providing a home to birds, bees, bunnies and other animals. It is maintained by professionals who specialize in native plants.

A recent grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) meant that we were able to add pops of color throughout our prairie with native wildflowers. As you walk the paved, half-mile trail, you’ll see purples, whites, oranges and yellows throughout the sea of green.

Our native prairie has a walking trail that can be used year-round. The west side of our prairie is home to the Kelsey Anne Devine StoryWalk. Families can walk and read at the same time. There are fun activities at the end of each page to expand the story and make the readers move. The stories are updated quarterly. Further along the trail, walkers will come across a pond, and if you listen closely, you might hear a bullfrog or two. There are benches in many spots along the trail where you can sit and read or just enjoy nature. If you bring along your dog, we also offer dog waste stations.

Summer is the peak time to visit the prairie. We have large, signature programs that take advantage of the space, including Library on the Prairie, a festival celebrating all things pioneer, and in December, Merry Prairie, which lights up our prairie during a festive time of year. In the past, we have had yoga, exercise, bike racing, chalk drawing and other programs that utilize the space.

In July, we will partner with the DNR for a prairie walk. During this guided tour, an Urban Wildlife Biologist will take attendees around the prairie and provide in-depth information about the benefits of prairies as well as information on the plants and animals that call it home. Attendees will also have the chance to ask questions. The walk takes place at 6 p.m. July 19. Register for the program at PageAfterPage.org/events. We hope to see you there.

Linda Kilbert
Experience Nature At the Library

Linda Kilbert / Branch Manager, White River Branch
July 6, 2022

Life can be stressful. Daily demands and unforeseen distractions can take their toll on our psyches and our bodies. The last few years are a testament to how life can throw a lot at you. Health professionals constantly preach the importance of finding ways to de-stress and slow down. There are a number of recommended solutions out there – meditation, yoga, mindfulness and more. The library has many books and resources to help learn those techniques. But there’s one resource you might not associate with the library – nature.

There are many documented benefits to experiencing nature, including stress relief, improvement in mood, and an increase in happiness. Studies have shown that even 10 minutes spent in a park or urban wooded area can bring immediate feelings of restoration and stress reduction. Time spent in a natural environment has also been shown to improve a child’s ability to learn and focus, reducing symptoms of ADHD.

I work at the JCPL’s White River Branch and love the view out of the large windows overlooking the forested area behind the library. Seeing the profusion of green leaves dappled in sunlight provides a respite from the fast pace of the day. As a self-proclaimed bird nerd, I spearheaded a project several years ago to put up some bird feeders and add some comfortable seating inside by the windows. This allows you to relax and enjoy the view. A handy poster of Indiana’s backyard birds helps you identify the feathered visitors.

Recently, through the help of the Greenwood Wild Birds Unlimited store, we expanded our bird feeding area to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. We now have some additional bird feeders, a bird bath (heated in the winter), a wren house, a downy woodpecker house, a hummingbird feeder and a nesting box attached to the window so you can see inside. Soon we will be adding two bat houses and some bird- and bee-friendly native plants. Inside we have a large dry-erase board where we note recent sightings. Right now, from inside the branch, I can hear the bubbly song of a house wren who is energetically building a nest in the wren house just outside the window. That happy song always makes me smile. I smile, too, because this habitat helps support the creatures and critters we share this space with and provide us so much enjoyment.

The White River Branch is not the only branch attuned to nature. Our Trafalgar Branch is surrounded by native prairie, complete with prairie grass, wildflowers, a nature trail and bee hives among other natural features. You’ll read more about that here in the coming weeks. The newly built Clark Pleasant Branch in Whiteland is developing a community garden, a nature area with bird feeders, and will launch a pollinator garden this fall.

Next time you visit the White River Branch, take a moment to sit in our comfortable chairs by the windows and enjoy the calming effect of our wildlife habitat. Soak in the green energy and watch the activities of our feathered friends. If you have your own habitat at home or elsewhere, don’t forget to check out our birding backpacks which contain binoculars, books and nature activities. Don’t let a day go by without a few doses of nature’s stress-relieving remedy.

Nicole Caudill

Summerlong Fun and Learning With the Library

Nicole Caudill / Library Assistant, Trafalgar Branch
June 1, 2022

Summer is in full swing, and children are at home enjoying their well-deserved summer break. Or, are they? What if your family vacation is over or not until a later time? How can you keep your children engaged and entertained?

The Johnson County Public Library is here for you. The library offers much more than books to help your children and teens finish their summer reading lists and also have fun this summer.

Check out our Library of Things where you can borrow baking kits and much more. We have baking pans to make a butterfly, baby buggy or Darth Vader cakes, as well as cookie cutters in the shape of Star Wars characters, superheroes or Harry Potter symbols. Other items that you can borrow include Birding Backpacks, outdoor lawn games and Launchpads. For the rainy days, take home board games, sewing machines, musical instruments or many other items worthy to explore.

And don’t forget about our Experience Passes. JCPL partners with museums like the Eiteljorg, the Indiana State Museum, the Indiana Motor Speedway Museum and others, allowing you to check out a family pass so you can experience some of Indiana’s best museums at no cost.

JCPL also partners with the Franklin Family Aquatic Center and Freedom Springs to offer pool passes for you and your family at no cost. You can find more information about the Library of Things and Experience Passes at PageAfterPage.org/lot.

But, not everyone is excited about a day trip to the “big city,” or maybe museums are not your thing. Instead, check out programs at any of our four locations. JCPL’s creative and fun programming staff offer programs for every age group, from Crafting for a Cause, which benefits community nonprofits, to fun STEAM programs. We also have all ages programs related to cooking and crafting, as well as game programs inside or outside the building. Find programs on our events calendar at PageAfterPage.org/events or pick up a Summer Library Guide at a Branch.

And make sure to register for Explore Summer and attend the big Explore Summer celebrations at all four branches. This year, you can learn how to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen at a Sub Zero presentation. Also, meet the Green Crayon character at the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten parties. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is coming as well for special storytimes. Don’t forget to visit all our StoryWalks throughout the county, too.

But, what if you borrow something, bring it back late and accumulate a fine? Well, then you are in luck. JCPL has been fine free since the beginning of 2022. If you had fines, they are forgiven and you can use any Johnson County Public Library Branch. Borrowers are still responsible for the items they borrow. If items are not returned within 45 days, or if the item is damaged, the borrower will be charged for the item.

So, come on and check out your local library! We are here to make your summer more enjoyable than ever!

Whiteland Branch to Host Teen Cosplay Event

Kalen Jones / Children’s and Young Adult Materials Selector
June 15, 2022

Kalen Jones

Big conventions downtown like Gen Con and Indy PopCon can be a lot of fun, but they can also be expensive and intimidating for first-time con-goers. Luckily, the Johnson County Public Library has its own mini-con just for teens called Random Fandom where they can express their interests in fandoms such as Harry Potter and “The Lord of the Rings” to anime and Pokémon. This exciting and growing event is a great introduction to many of the activities found at larger cons paired with the benefits of a local scale.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday attendees can visit stations around the new Clark Pleasant Branch Library for activities celebrating fandoms of all kinds. In the Community Room, con-goers can participate in unique photo opportunities with Star Wars cosplayers from the Bloodfin Garrison of 501st Legion and superhero cosplayers from Once Upon a Princess from 2-3 p.m. Strike a pose and take a selfie or two by the Random Fandom backdrop as well.

Fledgling costumers are encouraged to suit up and compete in individual and group costume contests. Watch the contest in the Community Room starting at 3 p.m. The first-place winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card, and the second-place winner will receive a $25 Visa gift card.

Looking for some more physical activity? Stop by the STEAM Zone Robotics Learning Lab to create a lightsaber and participate in an epic battle with friends. Then, see how you measure up to Katniss in the archery challenge in the Youth Program Room. Use the library’s button maker to design original fandom accessories and participate in hands-on STEAM demonstrations.

Also, be sure to try the library’s Oculus Go VR goggles and create a lightning orb. In the teen area, search through a collection of free comic books featuring favorite characters and choose a few to take home. Play video games with friends in our comfy teen space, too. Stop by a craft station to color or make a themed craft. After a full afternoon of activity, enjoy a quick snack in the Community Room.

JCPL is excited to offer Random Fandom to teens in the community, and the best part of it all is that it’s free and local. Explore the exciting world of conventions and fandoms this Saturday. Parents, tell your teens. Teens, invite your friends and don’t forget to wear a costume!

Find more program details at PageAfterPage.org/randomfandom.

Adult Learning Opportunities at JCPL

Wendy Preilis

Wendy Preilis / ALC Manager
May 18, 2022

The Adult Learning Center (ALC) is an adult literacy department that has been a part of the Johnson County Public Library (JCPL) since 1985. The ALC’s mission is to provide literacy services to adults in Johnson County. Over the years, the department has changed with population trends. Today, the ALC primarily provides services to adults learning English as a second language and learning about American culture. We also have services available to adults who want to brush up on basic skills in reading, writing, math and computers, or prepare for tests for a driver’s license, CDL, HSE or citizenship.

ALC is located at the Clark Pleasant Branch Library and we provide services at all JCPL locations. Adults over the age of 18 are eligible to attend classes. Lesson plans are tailored to each student’s needs. The ALC offers a variety of programs, on Zoom and in-person, such as reading programs, conversation classes and one-on-one tutoring. The ALC’s manager and part-time assistant teach classes, and 15 volunteers currently teach more than 30 adults each week in one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Over the years, we have helped many adults pass tests, become citizens, secure employment, successfully read and understand medical treatment reports, understand American report cards, volunteer with local groups and attend school programs. In addition to helping our students academically, the ALC provides a space for social development where students can make life-long friends with tutors, neighbors and teachers, and become contributing adults in our community.

The relationships formed between students and teachers have been impactful and inspiring. For example, we had tutors stand in as special friends at Grandparents’ Day celebrations at local schools for an adult learner’s child. Members of the conversation group banded together to provide healthy meals for a family in need. We had adults meet for the first time in Indiana and then continue their friendship when the student returned to Japan. We have supported new families and watched the new businesses of our adult learners flourish in Johnson County. Our community has shown a lot of Hoosier Hospitality over the years to our small, global library program. We strive to continue this tradition.

Throughout the pandemic, the ALC maintained its quality of services via Zoom. In the last two years, the ALC offered 501 programs with a combined attendance of 2,774 and held over 1,500 hours of one-on-one tutoring. Since relocating to the Clark Pleasant Branch Library in March, we have added 15 new adult learners to our classes.

The ALC is always looking for willing volunteers to provide English instruction to students, and you do not need to speak the native language of the adult learner. Volunteering with the ALC is a meaningful way to give back to the community. The adult learners are very motivated to learn English and American culture and make new friends.

The ALC invites you to family-friendly programs in June and July to get to know us. Come learn about our services and tell a friend, neighbor or co-worker about this great, free resource at the library. If you want to become an ALC student or volunteer, visit PageAfterPage.org/alc.

Kelly Staten

It’s Time to Explore Summer At JCPL

Kelly Staten / Programming Manager
May 4, 2022

The weather is warming up, the school year is ending and you are looking for fun activities to do all summer long. The Johnson County Public Library has you covered with our annual Explore Summer program that keeps you reading, creating and discovering new things on your own, with friends or with family.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of JCPL and runs from May 16 to July 31. Explore Summer is open to all ages. Stop in a library branch to sign up or register online at PageAfterPage.org/ExploreSummer. You’ll receive a coupon for a free book at a Friends of JCPL book sale, an activity log to track your reading minutes and a yard sign. JCPL’s Prize Squad will be looking for yard signs as we are out and about this summer delivering prizes to your door.

Learning and reading throughout the summer are vital to developing early literacy skills and combating learning loss. Our goal as a community is to read three million minutes together. To help us reach that goal, we want you to read 10 hours this summer – that can include magazines, books, audiobooks or even the newspaper. Keep track of your time, and when you have hit that mark, you will receive a finisher’s prize and be entered to win the grand prize. This year, we’re giving away a staycation to the Indianapolis Bottleworks District. It includes gift cards to restaurants in the Garage Food Hall, Living Room Theaters and Pins Mechanical Company, plus a gas gift card so you can get there.

Weekly learning activities get you out and exploring Johnson County, whether it’s public art on the Great Arts Quest, visiting one of our Storywalks or looking at the stars with a telescope borrowed from our Library of Things.

JCPL librarians have planned some fabulous programs for you to attend this summer. Hedgehog Hannah will be here with 12 different animals for an interactive experience. Children’s book character The Green Crayon will meet and greet patrons at all of our branches. Random Fandom is back to celebrate pop culture and geek fandoms. Crafting for a Cause partners with local nonprofits. And Sub Zero Ice Cream will celebrate the end of summer with a STEAM presentation and ice cream party. To see all the activities and to register for programs, visit PageAfterPage.org/events.

Get ready to head to a JCPL Branch May 16 to register and start reading, adventuring and exploring all that JCPL has to offer this summer. We will see you at your favorite JCPL branch soon!

Resources for Your Business at JCPL

Erin Kirchhoff / Digital Services Manager
April 20, 2022

JCPL is pleased to offer business owners and entrepreneurs resources about business and finance news, company management information, investment guidance, continuing education opportunities and much more to help keep your business ventures operating strongly.

Our newest offering is something that has been in demand for a long time: private study rooms are now available at each of our Branches! Varying in size (the largest can accommodate up to six people and includes a Smart TV), they can be reserved up to twice a week, 14 days in advance, at no charge. Need a larger space? Our community rooms are also available for business use at $30/hour. They provide a great opportunity for those needing a space to conduct a Zoom interview, meet with a prospective client or hold a workshop. Reserve a study or meeting room in person, over the phone or online with your JCPL card at PageAfterPage.org/meeting. As always, we offer Wi-Fi access, faxing, scanning and notary services at no charge, as well as black and white or color copying and printing at a nominal cost.

Need investment guidance? Access the Value Line Investment Survey, Small & Mid-Cap Survey, and the expanded Value Line "Universe" of stocks, with features and functions to streamline investment strategies.

Need to write a marketing or business plan? Sign up for six-week expert instructor-led Gale Courses such as "Creating a Successful Business Plan” or “Small Business Marketing On a Shoestring." New sessions begin each month, and you can enroll in as many as you’d like. Brush up on your Microsoft Office, social media and graphic design skills with thousands of video tutorials on LinkedIn Learning for Library.

Flesh out your business plan by utilizing AtoZdatabases, an essential tool for your marketing campaign that will help you create a targeted list of new movers, homeowners, or consumers by location, income, home value or pretty much any target you desire.

In search of unbiased product ratings and reviews? Browse the trusted Consumer Reports. Need to learn a few key conversational terms and phrases in a new language? Get started with Rosetta Stone. Both of these are brought to you with your JCPL card via INSPIRE, a collection of databases and other resources for Indiana residents.

The Gale Indiana Legal Forms Library provides searchable and printable forms that cover bankruptcy, deeds, power of attorney, real estate, wills and many other topics. Need a motivational listen during your daily commute? Don’t forget about the thousands of business, marketing, self-help and finance e-audiobooks available in our hoopla digital collection.

Easily access these resources and databases with your JCPL card whenever you need them, 24/7, at PageAfterPage.org/business

Authors at JCPL Series Back In-Person

Kelly Staten

Kelly Staten / Programming Manager
April 6, 2022

Did you know the Johnson County Public Library (JCPL) hosts bestselling and award-winning authors as part of our Authors at JCPL series? Thanks to donations to the JCPL Foundation and those who virtually attended the third annual Snuggle Up with a Book Ball, we bring notable authors like Jan Brett, J.A. Jance, Brad Thor and Tomi Adeyemi to Johnson County.

During the pandemic, we pivoted to host authors virtually, but we are excited that beginning this spring, we can return to in-person author visits. The first author to kick things off is Jennifer Weiner. She will join us at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 at The Sycamore at Mallow Run. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Friday.

Jennifer Weiner is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of 18 books, including “Big Summer,” “Mrs. Everything,” “Good in Bed,” and an essay collection, “Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing.” A graduate of Princeton University, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. We will celebrate her new title, “The Summer Place,” and we hope you can join us for this exciting evening.

The second author we will host this summer is Craig Johnson, The New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery novels. Johnson has written 17 books, two novellas, and many short stories featuring the Longmire character.

He is also the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Fiction and his novel “Spirit of Steamboat” was selected by the Wyoming State Library as the inaugural One Book Wyoming title. The books are celebrated at an annual festival called Longmire Day, which is held in the small town of Buffalo, Wyo., the real-life inspiration for the series’ fictional setting.

The books also inspired the Longmire TV series, which was the highest-rated original drama series on A&E before moving to Netflix. The show starred Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Craig grew up in Huntington, W. Va., and attended college at Marshall University, but now lives in the tiny town of Ucross, Wyo., (population 25) with his wife. Join us at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7 at The Historic Artcraft Theatre for a wonderful evening. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Monday, May 16.

It has been a long two years, but we are ready to bring authors to you again. If you have ever wanted to meet your favorite writer, get your books signed and listen to them talk about their writing process, now is your chance. All events are free and open to everyone.

Find registration details and more information about the Authors at JCPL series at PageAfterPage.org/authors.

Mackenzie Steagall

Come Find Your Perfect Prom Dress, Tux This Weekend

Mackenzie Steagall / JCPL Marketing & Communications Specialist
March 16, 2022

Formal wear is costly, but the financial expense of finding a perfect outfit should not prevent teens from making lifelong memories at their high school prom.

We are hosting our annual Project Prom event this weekend at the Franklin Branch where high school teens can choose from new and gently-used formal dresses, suits, shoes and accessories at no cost.

“The library’s mission is to provide access to a wide range of resources, and Project Prom is a way we can help teens attend prom who might not have been able to due to the cost of purchasing formal wear,” said Kelly Staten, JCPL programming manager.

JCPL accepts formal wear donations throughout the year from community members and local businesses. Project Prom has more than 1,000 dresses in stock this year and many tuxes and suits in varieties of styles and sizes. We have shoes and accessories to match, so everyone can find a complete outfit.

Additionally, the library is excited to partner with local businesses to offer more no-cost prom services. When they visit Project Prom, teens are invited to enter to win a free tux rental from Sophia’s Bridal and Tux, a free updo courtesy of Olivia at Love, Peace, and Hair in Franklin, and a total prom makeover including an updo, wax and airbrush makeup application courtesy of Tori Speedy at Luxe 349 Hair Studio in Greenwood. For teens who find an outfit and need an alteration, The Sewing Lady in Greenwood provides discounted dress and suit alterations.

Since 2013, more than 1,000 teens have found their perfect dress. Last year, teens took home 86 dresses, 85 accessories, 24 pairs of shoes and 7 suits. Teens can choose either one dress or one suit per person.

Erin Cataldi, Project Prom’s committee leader, said, “We’ve seen teens drive over an hour to come to this event. There is a definite need, and we are so happy to be able to provide this event every year.”

Project Prom will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. in the building behind the Franklin Branch located at 401 State Street, Franklin. Teens do not need to be from Johnson County to attend.

We encourage teens to bring their friends to browse and find their perfect prom outfits at JCPL’s Project Prom. For more information, visit PageAfterPage.org/Project-Prom.

Davin Kolderup
Come Explore the New Library

Davin Kolderup / Branch Manager, Clark Pleasant Branch
March 2, 2022

It was less than a year ago – March 23, 2021, to be exact – that Johnson County Public Library broke ground on a new and improved Clark Pleasant Branch Library.

Now, in just a few short days, we will welcome you and the rest of the Johnson County community to a beautiful new library that will provide patrons with a place to read, create and discover for years to come.

When we set out to design this new building with our partners at HBM Architects, we listened to what our patrons had been telling us they wanted from their library space. They wanted more flexible spaces they could gather in for community meetings, library programs, and for single and small-group study. They wanted places their young children could come to learn the foundations of early literacy, the skills that will help them get ready to read and set them up for success in both school and life. And of course, they wanted an attractive, comfortable place to read, relax, study and enjoy the company of their neighbors.

We’ve accomplished all of that and more, and we can’t wait for you to see it. Readers will enjoy the many comfortable seating options, including a cozy fireplace area, and the plentiful natural light throughout the building. If you have young children in your life, you’ll want to visit our Children’s Department, featuring a fun and interactive baby crawler, an imaginative play space and light table, and the amazing Everbright wall — you have to see it to believe it.

If you’re looking for a place to study, work or meet with a community group, we’ve got you covered. In addition to a large, AV-equipped Community Room, there are three study rooms – two smaller rooms for one or two people, and a larger room suitable for small groups, equipped with a large monitor display for plugging in laptops and other devices.

Learners of all ages will want to spend time in the STEAM Zone, our new Robotics Learning Lab, where we’ll offer a wide variety of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming starting in March, with LEGO programming for preschoolers through middle schoolers. There’s much more to come in this space, so keep an eye on our events calendar for more programs throughout the year.

We’re especially excited that JCPL’s Adult Learning Center is coming to the new Clark Pleasant Branch. A longtime fixture of the Library Services Center, the ALC is a place where adult learners can access free tutoring to improve their literacy skills and other basic education needs. Many patrons have taken advantage of the ALC’s services to improve their lives, and we’re thrilled to offer those services in a beautiful, conveniently located facility.

Your first chance to see this beautiful new building and its state-of-the-art amenities is at our grand opening and community celebration on Saturday. Join us at 10 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting, performance by the Franklin Community Band and fun activities throughout the morning and afternoon. Starting Sunday, the Clark Pleasant Branch Library will be open every Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Come be a part of the next chapter of Johnson County Public Library this Spring. Libraries are for everyone, and that includes you. Join us at U.S. 31 and Clearwater Blvd. in Whiteland and see what you can discover.

Mackenzie Steagall

Historical Homes and H.H. Holmes

Mackenzie Steagall / JCPL Marketing & Communications Specialist
February 16, 2022

The Johnson County Public Library Historical Room, located at the Franklin Branch of the Johnson County Public Library, contains a curated collection of documents, maps, atlases, directories and other material you can use to research the history of homes in the county.

In the library’s latest episode of our podcast, Back Stories, Elyssa Everling from the Trafalgar Branch and David Pfeiffer from the Johnson County Museum of History, discovered a connection between America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes and Franklin, Indiana.

Georgiana Yoke met Holmes in Chicago in 1891. The Edinburgh and Franklin native was the only wife of H.H. Holmes to survive being married to him. Georgiana’s mother, Mary Yoke, is thought to have lived in a home near Franklin College.

After learning about this connection, Pam Caito, a genealogy researcher in the library’s Historical Room, researched the Yoke’s residence with the Library’s public resources. First, she used the Library’s copy of the Atlas of Johnson County to locate Mary Yoke. Yoke is listed on one of the plots on State Street.

While searching library’s archive of digitized local newspapers, Caito found several articles about the Yoke’s home. In Aug. 1895, an Indianapolis News reporter described the Yoke’s house as “a one-story cottage,” “a well-kept little place…the rear of which fronts the railroad” and “where Holmes used to be a frequent visitor.”

Through maps, phone directories and newspapers, all available in the library’s Historical Room, Pam deduced Mrs. Yoke lived at 230 S. State Street, it is unclear if she owned the home. More newspaper articles reveal different owners filtered through the house in the mid-1900s. By the 1990s, the house was one of several torn down to make room for Franklin College’s expansion.

Books and print materials in the library’s Historical Room and digital resources accessible are available to guide your research. Staff is available to help you get started on your quest. All you need is your Library card. Your home has most likely never been visited by a serial killer, but you can find out more about the history of your home in the library’s Historical Room.

To learn more about H.H. Holmes, check out “The Devil In the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America” by Erik Larson. Or listen to the library’s Back Stories podcast available on your favorite podcast service.

Amy Hamilton
Crafting for a Cause

Amy Hamilton / Adult and Teen Services Librarian, White River Branch
February 2, 2022

Valentine’s Day is an excellent time to reflect on how wonderful it feels to receive cards from family and friends, particularly when you’re not expecting it. I have a friend who sends me cards and drawings from her children. I love seeing their artwork, mainly because I haven’t seen them much over the past two years. During these difficult times, connecting with family, friends and neighbors is a challenge at best, but especially so for residents of nursing homes where visitors and visiting hours change to reflect the residents’ health needs.

Many nursing homes and assisted living residents may not have regular visitors, and they rely on their facility’s activity directors or community organizations to provide company and entertainment. The Johnson County Public Library visits many local nursing homes to provide books and programs to the residents. JCPL-to-Your-Door is a service provided for homebound Johnson County residents, even in their own homes. For more information or to sign-up, call your local library branch.

Many communities around the country have started delivering letters, cards and gifts to seniors in nursing homes because they cannot visit in person. For example, one North Carolina community sent more than 5,000 cards to nursing homes across Charlotte in 2021. On Valentine’s Day, Johnson County Public Library staff will deliver handmade valentines to nursing homes in Johnson County. All ages are welcome to create valentine cards, drawings or any paper art to give to residents.

The Johnson County Public Library offers multiple ways to participate. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the White River Branch, drop in and create a valentine or two from provided craft supplies. This program is open to families and all ages. We will also accept additional valentines you make at home at all four library branches; each location will have a box where you can drop them off. The branches will also have coloring sheets available for children and adults to color and contribute to the cards we will deliver.

According to AARP, more than 2 million seniors live in residential care across the United States. Johnson County may have a small slice of our population in residential care, but we can reach out and support our seniors. This Valentine’s Day, help make seniors feel cherished and know they are loved and valued members of our community with the small but powerful gesture of a handmade card.

Cutting the Cord on Streaming and Cable

Erin Cataldi

Erin Cataldi / Adult and Teen Services Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch
January 19, 2022

It was a simpler time when Netflix was the only streaming service on the market. You had Netflix or cable – maybe even both! But then Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock, and Disney+ arrived and each streaming service offered different movies and shows (and price points). What started as one, maybe two bills, has now morphed into a messy set of bills to pay every month.

And except for original content, nothing is guaranteed to stay on those streaming services forever. Shows and movies leave every month, sometimes with no warning! Streaming was supposed to be cheaper than cable, but when you add up all the different streaming services where you subscribe to get your favorite shows, it adds up to a lot.

If you’re looking to save some money and cut down on the number of streaming services or cut your expensive cable plan, let the Johnson County Public Library take its spot as your destination for your favorite shows and movies. JCPL has a massive selection of movies, documentaries and TV shows available for check out with your library card. In fact, JCPL has over 20,000 DVDs between our four branches. You can get them on discs or stream them through our services such as hoopla and Kanopy. All DVDs can be checked out for 21 days so you have plenty of time to get through a long TV show, or you can still binge it all at once!

JCPL has all the Disney DVDs, including the movies that aren’t on Disney+, for your family to watch as well as obscure, old Nickelodeon shows, BBC mysteries, the hottest new TV shows like "Yellowstone", new releases like "Spiderman" and "James Bond", Hallmark movies and so much more. We even have Binge Boxes which are DVD sets that contain 5 or 6 movies centered on a theme like "Best Westerns", "Humbug Holiday", "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon", "Hole in One", etc. If a DVD is not on the shelf, a librarian will work their magic and source it from another location so that nothing stands in the way of you watching what your heart desires.

Put down your credit card and pick up your JCPL card; it’s a wise way to save each month and get access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows. To see the selection of movie and TV offerings that Johnson County Public Library has, visit PageAfterPage.org.

Moth Meuser
Volunteer to Bring the Joy of Reading to Newborns in Johnson County

Moth Meuser / Children's Services Librarian, Clark Pleasant Branch
January 5, 2022

Would you like to bring the joy of reading to the youngest among us? Do you like giving out free books? You might just be the perfect person to join our dream team of volunteers for the A-B-C Read to Me program.

Sound intriguing? Here’s the deal: A-B-C Read to Me is a collaboration between Johnson County Public Library and Johnson Memorial Hospital. It takes volunteers to make the magic happen! Volunteers visit the maternity ward at the hospital once a week to meet little newborns and their families. Their job is to greet new parents (those ready to see visitors, of course) and bring them information on early literacy. Plus, the best part: you get to give them free board books so they can start reading together right away.

Now, as a volunteer, you don’t just chuck a book at the babies and vamoose. You take a minute to talk to families, and give out a packet with information on how to get more free books and resources, both from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library–which mails a free book to kids every month from birth to age 5– and the good ol’ Johnson County Public Library, which has free books ready and waiting for everyone at each branch.

If you’ve been around books or kids (or both!) for long enough, you may already know how important it is for baby brains to start learning early. You may not remember, but skills most of us take for granted as grown-ups take a long time for little ones to learn, so those baby steps (pun intended) are important. Learning to read is no exception! The goal of A-B-C Read to Me is to give families a reminder (and some books) to start reading with their infants. Reading with babies helps set them up to be readers when they’re older, which then helps get them ready to succeed in school and beyond.

So, if that sounds like a good time to you, we’d love to have you as an A-B-C Read to Me volunteer! You can find our volunteer application online at PageAfterPage.org/abc. You can also pop into your local JCPL branch to get an application and say “Hi!”