The new Lenexa City Center Library is opening this week, and Johnson County Library staff are gearing up for a grand opening to celebrate. The new library at 8778 Penrose Lane, just across from Lenexa City Hall and the Public Market will be open to the public June 2.
Christopher Leitch, community relations coordinator, said construction costs came in under the $21.1 million budget. The library took about 18 months to build and was completed ahead of schedule, he added.
“When you look at what our region is investing in new libraries — Mid-Continent Public Library and Kansas City Public Library and Johnson County Library — it’s really phenomenal to see so many communities investing in institutions like ours that serve all equally with no direct cost,” Leitch said.
The 40,000 square foot facility occupies two floors at the Lenexa City Center campus, with ground-floor entry on both levels. On the top level, patrons can access the parking garage and drive-through library services.
Johnson County Library closed its Lackman branch in March and moved materials and staff to the new branch at Lenexa City Center. The new facility more than doubles the Lackman branch in square footage and staff.
The Lenexa City Center Library offers 30,000 books for children, 27,000 books for adults, 2,600 books for teens, 3,000 audio CDs for adults, 2,500 music CDs and 5,900 DVDs. Materials are located on two large floors with open concept and ample natural lighting.
Leitch said Johnson County Library recognized several years ago that the Lackman branch would not be able to meet the needs of a growing population in Lenexa and the region. That’s why the library decided to build Monticello Library in western Shawnee and is working to update all libraries over the next several years.
“Within five years, there will be 15,000 people in walking distance of this library,” Leitch said. “The growth of the community in terms of business opportunities, housing, made this a reasonable and logical place where we would locate a library, and we continue to serve our existing Lenexa patrons, and we can serve these new patrons who are going to be moving into the area.”
In addition to regular library services and public Wi-Fi access, the new library features:
- 6 meeting/study rooms, including a 36-person meeting room, with wireless A/V and conversational seating
- 20 public computer workstations
- Dedicated space for storytime and other children’s programming
- Dedicated gathering space and workstations for teens
- A variety of seating and workstations as well as multiple charging areas
- A holds lobby that will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 pm. 365 days a year
- An atrium for guest speakers and events
- Balcony seating with device power
The Lenexa City Center parking garage accommodates 500, is free to use and features a covered walkway to the library entrance.
Grand opening activities
Activities set for the day of the grand opening include tours of the new building, a viewing of award-winning children’s book illustrator Stephen T. Johnson’s public artwork on site (three 25-foot mosaics in the atrium), a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m., remarks from public officials and a recitation of a work from the emerita Poet Laureate of Kansas, Wyatt Townley.
Additional parking and a free shuttle are available at the Kiewit office building at 8900 Renner Blvd. All of the surface parking lot spaces are free to use. Patrons may follow the red and white “Library Event Parking” signs. A shuttle will be taking passengers to and from the parking lot to the library every 15 to 20 minutes. This parking lot is four blocks south of the library, along Penrose, and is within walking distance.
Lenexa City Center Library will be one of six library branches that are open on Sundays. Regular hours of operation are:
- 1-5 p.m. Sunday
- 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday
- 9 am. – 5 p.m. Saturday