1988 - Libraries in the county, including Olathe, the Johnson County Library system, and Johnson County Community College, switched over to a new computerized check out system through Data Research Associates (DRA). Kent Oliver, who was appointed director that year, commented that it was a step toward modernizing and increasing the sophistication of the Olathe library.
Photo courtesy of Sun Publications
1989 - Online Public Access Computers (OPAC) were installed, allowing patrons to use a computer to search for books in both the Olathe and Johnson County Library systems without the help of a librarian. These computers eliminated the need for a card catalog.
1991 - As Olathe grew by leaps and bounds, the library quickly began to run out of space. Originally designed to serve a population of 50,000 and hold 100,000 volumes, the library was serving a population of 72,500 and contained 112,000 volumes.
Due to its location, expanding the current library was not an option, so a plan was developed to build a branch library on the east side of Olathe. Unfortunately, a 1994 mill levy increase election, which would have funded the project, met with defeat.
1995 - Kent Oliver served as director of the Olathe Public Library until 1995.
Under his direction, the library board developed a plan and written policies. During this time, collection development changes allowed the library to add other formats, such as video and audio tapes. Oliver worked toward more space for Olathe's growing needs. He obtained a grant for the 1996 remodeling, which provided electrical and data lines for more public computers.
1995 - Emily Baker, former assistant director, was appointed library director.
1996 - In order to alleviate crowding, address accessibility concerns, and make better use of the limited space available, a summer-long remodeling project was begun.
During the remodeling, the circulation and reference desks were moved closer to the entrance to the building. The meeting room became additional space for the children's department, as well as office space. The remodeling also provided an opportunity to rewire the building to accommodate new technology.
An open house was held on September 21st to rededicate the library.