Olathe Public Library

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Library service in Olathe dates back to the 1870s, when the Olathe Library Association started a subscription library. However, a subscription library doesn't serve all members of the public, so the Ladies Reading Circle (still active today!) sought to remedy that by establishing a public library in 1889.

Today t
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he Olathe Public Library serves the nearly 142,000 residents of the City of Olathe through two full-service locations plus additional "goLibraries" and return locations. The library that is located in downtown Olathe is 25,000 square feet. The Indian Creek Library, originally opened in 2000 to alleviate crowding in the downtown building, was due for expansion as part of the Library's Master Plan when it was devastated by water main break in 2016. Rather than attempting to both repair and expand the existing building, the City Council decided to move it to a new location: a large vacant property that formerly housed a supermarket. The beautiful 47,000 square foot Indian Creek Library opened in its new home on October 19, 2019. It offers wonderful amenities including a cafe, event space, a maker space, AV recording studio, and innovative children's areas.

Outreach services provide resources and programming to people who otherwise may not be able to travel to one of the library locations for such services.

The Olathe Public Library operates with a staff of 105 FTE and a budget of approximately $6 million. Through book sales and other fundraisers, the
Friends group provides additional funding for library materials and equipment as well as support for reading programs, scholarships, and community outreach. The Olathe Public Library Foundation manages private donations to provide grants for large-ticket items including enhancements to facilities, collections, technology, and more.

OPL circulates more than 1.5 million items annually. The library's collection consists of 206,424 physical items, including 79,869 adult and teen books, 73,713 children's books, 35,267 adult AV items, and 17,575 children's AV items. Thousands of
downloadable materials are available through the library's catalog or via the Johnson County Library or the State Library of Kansas. OPL also has an extensive Tool Lending Library, enabling people to check out mobile hotspots, gardening and household tools, and even wheelbarrows.

Programs are wide-ranging and well-attended: in 2018, the library hosted 356 Storytimes attended by 7,711 children, 198 adult programs that welcomed 3,722 people, and 735 teen programs with 7,546 attendees. OPL offers many outreach events, including 163 programs attended by 4,069 people in 2018.

Olathe Public Library is a department of the City of Olathe and is served by a
Library Advisory Board consisting of nine members appointed by the Mayor of Olathe to serve four-year terms.

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Photos courtesy of Olathe Public Library