New Website Coming Soon!

Website

Over the past couple of months, we have been working hard to improve our website. The way we access information online has changed, and we want our website to cater to those changes. Our redesigned website will have many new or improved features, and we can’t wait to show you!

Click here to explore the new website. Our current website will still be up for a while so that our patrons can get used to the new site. Some of the improvements are:

  • Better responsive design for all screen sizes
  • Improved search bar for the catalog and the library website
  • Better organized online resources and research databases
  • Redesigned Stern Visitations of War
  • Updated events calendar with online registration possible in the future
  • Friendlier Kids and Teen pages
  • Moving the blog to be on the library website
  • Much more!

As mentioned in the list, this blog, Use Your Library Voice, will soon be found on our main library website. The blog is not going away; we are just combining both sites so that patrons can follow along more easily. If you are subscribed to this blog, we will automatically subscribe you to the new blog.

We want to hear your feedback on the redesigned website. Leave a comment here and tell us what you think!

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Tax Help at the Library

Taxes

It’s hard to believe it’s already tax season again. Tax day is Tuesday, April 17th this year. It’s time to gather all of your documents and forms. Though the IRS will not be sending out print forms to the library, you can still print off forms there. All you need is a valid library card to use our computers.

factcheckThere are a lot of changes this year, due to “The Tax Cut and Jobs Act.” Tax brackets have changed; deductions have changed; some former exemptions can no longer be claimed; and some credits have altered or disappeared. For more information, and a side-by-side comparison of the tax code before and after the law, Factcheck.org has a detailed breakdown here: https://www.factcheck.org/2017/12/guide-tax-changes/.

Taxes can be confusing, stressful, and downright awful. Luckily, there are great organizations that can help navigate the thicket. One of those is AARP. As in years past, the library will host AARP to help individuals with their taxes through February, March, and April. Both the Northern Resource Center (serving Belton, Raymore, & Peculiar) and the Harrisonville Branch will have AARP representatives available every week. Tax help is available by appointment only, and they are accepting appointments now.

Harrisonville
Wednesdays & Thursdays from February 7th to April 12th.
Call 816-372-4473 to make an appointment.

Northern Resource Center
Mondays from February 5th to April 16th.
Call 816-425-4669 to make an appointment.

Library staff cannot give any tax advice or suggestions on which form(s) you may need, but AARP may be able to help. Call and make an appointment today!

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Libraries Vital to Success of Cities & Counties

This year, the library is celebrating 70 years of existence. In the pre-Internet, pre-computer days, libraries were the main and sometimes only resource in a town for in-depth information on any given subject. Back in the day of only three TV channels and no live streaming, libraries provided a valuable source of entertainment–books.

Each town struggled to maintain their own library. It was through the unification of libraries in different towns and developing a distribution system between branches that libraries began to flourish.

Today libraries provide the main and sometimes only outlet for those needing to use a computer or the Internet. These services are provided free or for a modest fee. Virtually everything is available from the library–books, music, films, periodicals, tapes, etc. Dust off your library card or get a new one and check them out. The Harrisonville branch also has a genealogical area that keeps microfilm of [most] issues of county newspapers. Just about anything else to aid you in your search is there as well.

I forget sometimes that everyone was not born and raised in Cass County. Not to mention that most residents are younger than me and the battles for services have already been fought. But the celebration of the forming of the library is significant in the development of Cass County. A lot of counties didn’t at the time and still don’t have their own library network. One does not have to travel very far to find a county that lacks this service. The leaders at that time were truly visionaries and the epitome of what civic-minded citizens are supposed to be. There was no “what’s in it for me” or “how will my business benefit.” We could use more of that now in all facets of our country.

My personal memory of the Drexel branch revolves around the summer reading program and librarian Lucille Bundy. Mrs. Bundy served there possibly from the inception to her retirement in the early 1970s. Kaye Edmonds, one of my all time favorite people, took over for her and was there probably at least the next 20 years. Use your library!

The above letter, by Pat Thomas, first appeared in the December 6th issue of the Harrisonville Star. We have reprinted it with permission.

Despite a ballot measure in the 1970s that would have effectively moved operations out of the county, a “hick editor from Podunk” helped keep the library operated locally by responding in print and on the radio. Your library is still funded and operated locally, and we still strive to provide services that our patrons need.

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There’s still time to catch our 70th Anniversary exhibit. Stop by the Harrisonville branch to explore the library through the years. The exhibit runs through December 30th.

Posted in Archie, Bookmobile, Drexel, Garden City, Genealogy, General, Harrisonville, Northern Resource Center (Belton), Pleasant Hill, Programs and Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Give Back to the Library This Holiday Season with Amazon Smile

amazon-smile

It’s the holiday season once again, and if you are planning on buying your gifts through Amazon, you can give back to the library with your purchases! Through Amazon Smile, a percentage of your purchase can go to the Cass County Public Library Foundation. Just go to smile.amazon.com and select Cass County Public Library Foundation as your designated charity. The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your purchases to the CCPL Foundation.

The Cass County Public Library Foundation helps fund the prizes for Summer Reading Award Books, author visits, and other programs throughout the year. You can use Amazon smile anytime to spread holiday cheer all year long.

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The Library Celebrates 70 Years!

Picture9

CCPL’s Opening Tea held on December 13, 1947 in Harrisonville.

December marks the 70th Anniversary of the Cass County Public Library. To celebrate, we are holding an Opening Tea on December 7th in honor of our seven decades of service to Cass County. The Harrisonville Branch will also host a month-long exhibit of library history, including photographs, newspaper articles, stories, and more.

Here is a brief look into the first days of the Cass County Public Library:

The Cass County Public Library found its beginning in the school election of 1947. It was out of consideration for the rural schools of Cass County that a measure was put on the ballot in April of that year to establish a library district and a tax levy to fund it. The adoption of a new State Constitution in 1945 by Missouri allowed for the establishment of county libraries that were supported by direct taxation. Billed as an “essential” service for the education of school children in rural areas of the county, the proposition passed with a significant majority.

The newly-minted library district was to be well-funded by a “One-Mill” tax on property that amounted to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of property value. The funds required to support the library before the tax went into effect came from a variety of sources including a $2,500 loan, assistance from the State of Missouri, and an Establishment Grant. By the next year, the library was so well-funded that the Kansas City Star ranked Cass County third behind Jackson and St. Louis counties in most available funds. That, unfortunately, is no longer the case for the present-day library.

Harrisonville was the obvious choice for the library’s flagship branch – it was the county seat and centrally located. Mrs. Martha Stuart Johnson, then owner of Hotel Harrisonville, was credited with solving the library’s problem. Johnson spoke with the Foster sisters, who leased the building at the time, and suggested the hotel’s kitchen and butler’s pantry, which had fallen into disuse.

An Opening Tea was held in honor of the library. The brand new Cass County Public Library welcomed nearly 500 Cass Countians, 131 of which became the charter members of the library. For many in Cass County, this was their first experience using a library. There was some confusion regarding how a public library worked – Dorothea Hyle, the County Librarian, had to explain that library cards were free and that the taxes had already paid for access to all the library’s resources.

Thanks to the library’s dedicated outreach and the Bookmobile’s efforts around the county, by the spring of 1948, 2,500 books were being used by students attending all 67 of the schools located in Cass County. During this time, the Bookmobile made 86 stops each month all across the county, providing access to educational materials and library resources in rural areas not served by physical branches. These efforts continue today, county-wide, as the Cass County Public Library also provides new resources like eBooks, adult education programs, book clubs and story times for patrons of all ages, free access to the internet and subscription databases (just to name a few!).

Join us at the opening tea, which runs all day December 7th, to learn more about our history. Come share your own memories of the Cass County Public Library!

For more information about the library’s history, click here.

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The Library & Workforce Development

Cass County Public Library has access to a great resource to help individuals hone their job skills. Learning Express Library has many practice tests to help you succeed in the Career Center: From Air Traffic Control to Teaching, you can practice specific career exams to prepare. There is also an Adult Learning Center to help you improve your math, reading, and writing skills. In addition to subscribing to Learning Express Library, the library has partnered with the Cass County Corporation for Economic Development (CCCED) to help assess and improve the skills of Cass County’s workforce.

The CCCED has collaborated with other Cass County stakeholders—elected officials, school districts & institutions of higher education, Chambers of Commerce, employers, and other civic organizations to launch a workforce development focused effort called the Cass County Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) Initiative.

MO WOrk Ready

The local CWRC is part of a national effort centered on identifying and demonstrating the number of qualified workers available in a community and their relative skill levels based upon the National Career Ready Certificate (NCRC) developed by ACT. In Missouri, it is a state-wide program that is in place in more than 80 of the state’s 114 counties.

The NCRC is a portable, industry-recognized credential that documents an individual’s essential work skills in three key areas:

  1. Reading for information
  2. Applied math
  3. Locating information

These skills are required in the vast majority of jobs. To earn the NCRC, individuals complete the WorkKeys assessment. Supported by data from more than 20,000 job skills profiles and rooted in decades of workplace research, WorkKeys assessments are based on situations in the everyday working world.

The WorkKeys assessment can be a valuable alternative to higher education. Some individuals may not succeed in a classroom environment. Others may not want to go on to a college or university. The NCRC showcases the skills an individual has and can help them succeed and advance in their career path. Individuals can take the assessment at any time: in school, for a job application, or to earn the certificate to help in their job search.

When individuals earn the NCRC, they become part of a robust workforce that helps their community’s economy thrive-which benefits everyone. More than 3 million certificates have been issued across the United States. The NCRC helps:

  • Job seekers and current employees improve their career outcomes
  • Students prepare to success in a variety of career pathways
  • Educators gain confidence that their students are ready for life after high school
  • Employers and human resources professionals improve their hiring, training, and promotion decisions
  • Workforce developers better assist those they serve, including displaced workers, in entering or re-entering the job market
  • Economic developers provide evidence of a skilled workforce that helps attract business and industry
  • Industry associations have a foundation for building systems of stackable credentials
  • Policymakers and legislators gain a resource to create policy and legislative solutions to the nation’s economic and educational challenges.

The NCRC WorkKeys Assessment is offered weekly at the Cass County Public Library branch in Harrisonville every Wednesday from 1pm to 5pm. Individuals can also contact the Missouri Job Center in Belton at 109 Congress, Belton, MO 64012. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 816.318.3922.

If you are an employer in Cass County and wish to sign a letter of support, click here. To learn more about Work Ready Communities, click here.

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Food for Fines

Food For Fines Banner

Food For Fines returns for the month of November!

Throughout November, patrons may bring any non-perishable food items, that are not expired or damaged, to any Cass County Public Library branch. Each item counts as $2.00 toward overdue fines. Donations cannot be used toward lost, damaged, or other fees. Patrons are welcome to donate items even if they do not have library fines.

Donated items benefit the following area food pantries:

  • Ministry Alliance (Archie)
  • Drexel Methodist (Drexel)
  • Heart of Life (Garden City)
  • Shepherd’s Staff (Harrisonville & Bookmobile)
  • Heart-n-Hand (Northern Resource Center)
  • Pleasant Hill Lay Clergy (Pleasant Hill)

We are pleased to offer this service once again. Come in and pay down your fines and give back to your community.

Posted in Archie, Bookmobile, Drexel, Garden City, Genealogy, Harrisonville, Northern Resource Center (Belton), Pleasant Hill | Tagged , | Leave a comment