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Johnson County’s newest library is ‘a natural fit’ for growing Lenexa City Center

Tour the new Lenexa City Center Library

The Lenexa City Center Library, the newest branch of the Johnson County Library, opens Sunday. The new branch, which spans 40,000 square feet on two floors and cost $21.1 million, is located at 8778 Penrose Lane, in Lenexa’s City Center campus.
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The Lenexa City Center Library, the newest branch of the Johnson County Library, opens Sunday. The new branch, which spans 40,000 square feet on two floors and cost $21.1 million, is located at 8778 Penrose Lane, in Lenexa’s City Center campus.

Lenexa City Center Library, the newest addition to the quickly-growing Lenexa City Center, will open Sunday.

The library, at 8778 Penrose Lane, replaces the Lackman branch that previously served the area.

The $21.1 million project adds to the list of grand openings in the City Center over the past few years. The area, which opened in 2017, includes the new City Hall, Lenexa Rec Center, a five-story parking structure and public-use spaces. Several food and clothing merchants have also opened in the Lenexa Public Market.

The downtown vision that started in 1997 pictured Lenexa City Center as a community gathering space. City Manager Beccy Yocham said the library is “a natural fit” into this vision.

With the main entrance facing the Lenexa Public Market and the garage level facing City Hall, the library sits in the center of foot traffic. The city projects that over 15,000 people eventually will live within walking distance of the library, said Christopher Leitch, Johnson County Library community relations coordinator.

Ken Werne, Lenexa City Center Library manager, said he anticipates heavy traffic at the start because Lackman patrons have been without a library for six weeks.

The library offers conventional aspects of a library — books, study spaces and conference rooms. But the new branch will include some unique elements, even among Johnson County branches, such as a stand-alone drive-through for picking up and returning books and other items.

“Something that we’re all learning in the public service world is more and more patrons are expecting services to be tailored to them,” Leitch said.

The new branch will focus on technology and young readers. It will include:

An online catalog, so community members can reserve items online.

An activity center for preschoolers to learn the six early literary skills needed by age 6.

An atrium that houses three mosaics by local artist Steven T. Johnson.

Projectors in study rooms with glass walls, which can be written on.

A balcony with seating, Wi-Fi access and charging stations.

At over 40,000 square feet, the library will be Johnson County Library’s second largest branch, the first being Central Resource Library in Overland Park.

The Lenexa library will employ just over 40 people, more than twice as many as Lackman, Leitch said.

The two-story library will house a collection size of 72,000, which includes books, CDs and DVDs.

The grand opening will take place between 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday during the library’s normal Sunday hours. Community members will hear from Wyatt Townley, poet laureate of Kansas, and have the opportunity to tour the new building.

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