logo, goto libary home 2015 Annual Report

Your place. Stories you want. Information you need. Connections you seek.

People, place and platform

Gina Millsap
Gina Millsap, Topeka & Shawnee
County Public Library CEO

In 2015, we continued to be a place to residents of Shawnee County. But we also functioned as a community platform, showing up in many shapes and forms at workshops, planning tables, job training centers, preschool circle times and school lunch tables – all with the aim of helping, providing and enriching our city and county.

It was our skilled and friendly people who delivered the library to the various doorsteps of the community. Together, the library's role as people, place and platform solidified in an energetic year of working toward the collective future.

In 2015, you showed us that your appetite for library services and collections is growing, with no sign of slowing down. You came to us for entertainment, learning opportunities, resources and to meet and team up with others.

You encountered us in our reliable spaces - in bookmobiles, in our building and in smiling faces ready to assist you in whatever search necessary to improve your life. You also encountered us when you weren’t expecting it – in classrooms, workplaces, community centers, conventions, senior centers and beyond.

Read on to see how the library showed up with rolled up sleeves in 2015.

group of people

Your mobile library

The vibrancy and whimsy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland now flows through the streets of Shawnee County, thanks to a planned gift to the Library Foundation. "Alice," the newest bookmobile in the library’s fleet is a physical representation of one couple’s devotion to the library. Margaret and Hugh McCausland were longtime Friends of the Library volunteers and book lovers.

Thanks to Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy, and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation.

Alice bookmobile


Advisors Excel

Our Library @ Work service extended books and media materials to workers at Advisors Excel, KPERS, Topeka Police and Shawnee County Sheriff's Office and Landon State Office Building - that means that people who work hard can still get free items and entertainment from the library right inside their workplaces. That's a time-saver.

We honed in on a plan

Next decade strategic plan

A major part of developing our community impact goals has been getting feedback from the community, staff and board members. In the summer of 2015 we held community meetings in partnership with Heartland Visioning. Members of the community identified aspirations they felt were most important. Those included:

  • Literacy
  • Diversity
  • Lifelong learning

We've gathered information from various groups and will announce The Next Decade Strategic Plan and Community Impact Goals in 2016.

Next Decade meetings

A model for innovation & community engagement

Amy Garmer, Director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on the Future of Public Libraries, visited our library in 2015 to learn about the ways we’re undertaking trends identified in the Institute’s vision for public libraries of the future.

We continue to stay networked to trends and findings in the industry to ensure that the library remains at the forefront of future trends.

The library and you

It was a great year to celebrate the strong relationship between your library and your community.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library was given a 2015 LibraryAware Community Award by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware™, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services.

Library Aware award

Learning within your reach

2015 was a year of broadening the library's reach and opening new connection points to learning for more and more people.

Kids Library continues to thrive

Every child should be ready for kindergarten, but they're not. We want to change that. We firmly believe that we can reach that goal with our efforts to increase literacy tools for kids aged 0-5. Our fun and colorful Kids Library continues to be an anchor point for child literacy. 627,979 materials flew out of the Kids Library in 2015 and into the homes and hearts of Topeka children and parents.

Kansas Children's Discovery Center Passports

The library takes its role as lifelong educator seriously. We also think learning is silly, playful and fun! In 2015, families were able to check out a passport to visit the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, a fun, hands-on children’s attraction with emphasis on science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Outreach storytellers and community storytime

At any given time of day, library staff are criss-crossing the city and county, bringing materials and fun to local daycare centers, preschools and community centers. Outreach storytellers visit 50+ early childhood sites per month, and programming for children is now available in kids' neighborhoods at community centers.

Community storytime

Red Carpet service remains vital in seniors' lives

Red Carpet (senior services) visits 40 retirement and congregate living communities and delivers bi-weekly to 130 homebound customers. Our reach extends to all ages and walks of life. Lifelong learning is for everyone, and we'll bring the library to you.

Red Carpet

Dreams take shape in Hi-Crest

On Tuesdays from 2-5 p.m., people from the Hi-Crest Neighborhood come to the Avondale East NET Center to pursue dreams for a better future. Their efforts are buoyed by four library-provided computers and software and a team of five librarians. In 2015, the library celebrated the milestone of helping people find jobs and hope in Hi-Crest.


Make-It Lab

We made technology available in our new makerspace, the Make-It Lab, so that all can have access to 21st Century building tools - stuff like a 3D printer, sound boards, video equipment and design software.

Makerspace partnership

In 2015, the library showed up at 712 Innovations ready to assist entrepreneurs and inventors as they tested out their dreams in 712's fully-outfitted makerspace. The library will be involved at 712 with collections and resources for turning that passion for making into a viable business. And since 712 is a membership-based model, the library will soon offer day passes for customers to try before they buy.

Make-It Lab & 712

Books for keeps

In February, we were approached by United Way of Greater Topeka regarding the establishment of a Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, a well‐established book distribution program for pre‐school aged children. In 2016, we will continue to pursue this strategy, which could significantly advance our first community impact goal, “The children in our community will be ready for kindergarten.” The Friends of the Library and the Library Foundation have provided seed funds to get this program off the ground.

In the works for Shawnee County kids

In 2015, the Library Foundation allocated funding for a mobile early childhood learning center. Soon early education experts will be bringing literacy learning to children throughout the entire city and county.

We all read together

The Big Read

In 2015 we all decided to read True Grit by Charles Portis and celebrate a great tradition of Western Classics with music, poetry, art, carnival capers and horseloads of fun and learning. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. True Grit was checked out a total of 1,394 times in the month of February.

Big Read 2015 True Grit

Summer readers are superheroes

9,120 Babies, kids, teens and adults took the reading challenge this summer. And kids read a whopping 72,527 hours total. That means they beat the summer slide and kept their reading skills honed all summer long.

Summerfest Superhero

There's no place like home base

We continue to be your community hub

At 1515 SW 10th Avenue, the scene bustled with activity and library customers converged in the physical library building to check out items, attend events, meet and find resources.

  • Visitors made 798,452 trips to the library (0.1% increase from 2014)
  • Total circulation of our 455,547 items went up1.3% from 2014
  • We hosted 8,669 meetings
  • We provided library events for over 90,000 people in 2015 (19% increase over 2014)
  • We have about 100,000 borrowers

Updates in the stacks

We added an easy-to-browse History Neighborhood to the stacks, thanks to a generous gift from the Redbud Foundation. Now history buffs can lose themselves to the past in one centralized location in the library.

History Neighborhood

Parking lot repavement

We dusted off our old parking lot in 2015 and replaced it with a brand new, repaved parking lot. Home just got a bit cozier.

Repaved parking lot

Feeding minds, feeding the hungry

Because of education budget cuts, several schools weren't able to remain open during the summer as usual sites for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Meal program. It became apparent to library management and staff that someone would need to step in to help fill that void. In the summer, we served meals at Lowman Hill Elementary and on our Adventuremobile. Later, we moved summer meals to the Edge, and decided to continue being a feeding site for kids in David J's with an afternoon snack program that continues to this day. Kids can now find sustenance for their brains and their stomachs at your library.

Summer Meals program

There's no place like the home page

You're ravenous for digital materials, and find them on our digital branch, tscpl.org. Total digital circulation has increased 29.2% from 2014 and accounted for 11.8% of all checkouts. That's a lot of downloads!

Library News


The library's bullhorn, the bi-monthly publication Library News, was delivered to every household in Shawnee County in 2015. It featured local people, real library users from Topeka schools, organizations and groups. With a year-long focus on educating the public about our digital offerings, Library News and its e-news sister publication, Library News Update, spread the word far and wide that the library is an essential part of your life.

Social Media


Library customers continued to visit our website in record numbers, to find and place holds on items, check accounts and read up on library news and reviews of the latest hot books.We saw use of the digital branch increase 38%.

Check It Out on social media


Our social media continues to grow, and was particularly successful in April, 2015, when our library went viral internationally with our National Library Week video, "#CheckItOut."

#CheckItOut - Taylor Swift Parody Video for National Library Week

We couldn't have done it without you

We had a spectacular year, and you have made all the difference. Thank you, Topeka and Shawnee County, for your support.

We also rely strongly on some of our fiercest advocates, the Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library, to keep us growing, improving and mattering in the lives of the people we serve.

Numbers At a Glance


TSCPL 2015 Annual Report Infographic
(PDF Version)


Cardholders 99,683
Visitors to Library 798,452
Overall Check-Outs 2,330,123
Reference Questions Answered 259,402
Digital Downloads 274,670
Program Attendance 90,841
Digital Branch Visitors 795,411

Sources of Financial Support

2014 Revenues
Taxes $16,449,352
Fees & Reimbursements $870,680
Contributions $353,736
Grants & State Aid $73,852
Investment Income $17,480
Total $17,765,100


2014 Expenditures
Salaries and Benefits $11,419,626

Other Operating Expenses $2,097,845
Debt Service $1,654,175
Library Materials $1,640,725
Equipment &
Capital Improvements
Programming & Events $101,185
Total $17,543,046

Library Board of Trustees

David Monical
David Monical, Chair
Kerry Onstott-Storey
Kerry Onstott Storey, Vice-Chair
Melissa Masoner
Melissa Masoner, Secretary
Jennifer Turner
Jennifer Miller, Treasurer
Beth Dobler
Beth Dobler

betty grenier
Betty Greiner
Duane Johnson
Duane Johnson
Liz Post
Liz Post
Elizabeth Ross
Elizabeth Ross
Dr. Julie Swift
Dr. Julie Swift