New family-friendly libraries coming to Shawnee and Lenexa. What’s next?

As Johnson County’s library system embarks on its first construction projects of the 21st century, Director Sean Casserley is already envisioning the family-friendly and customer-service components that put the “public” first in these new public libraries.

Drive-up windows to help busy moms retrieve materials without having to get out of their cars. A “storywalk path” to let kids learn about letters and sounds. Automation equipment to get books back on the shelves and into circulation more quickly.

“We are taking a page from Target and Walmart,” Casserley said, adding that the system is looking at the best in retail and hospitality trends. “We’re taking our inventory and putting it in front of the customers faster.”

The first new branch opens this fall in western Shawnee, which has clamored for such a facility since the 1990s. The $18 million Monticello Library, just off Shawnee Mission Parkway and West 66th Street, features ample meeting rooms and a flexible, open design that can be adapted as community needs change.

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