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In the Spotlight

STEM Isn’t Just For Him: An Interview with Meghan McCarthy

One of the biggest stories in children’s publishing this year has been the success of books empowering young women. Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo’s Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a set of 100 brief biographies of unstoppable women, is among the highest circulating children’s books at the library this year, and similar titles like Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted, and Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science have recently joined Rebel Girls on the New York Times bestseller list.

I’ve enjoyed reading these books to my daughter and son, but even more we love the work of author/illustrator Meghan 9781416979708_zoomMcCarthy, who has been telling stories of women and science for over a decade and was kind enough recently to answer a few questions about her work.    Read More..

To-Read: A Story of Shame & Neglect

I have a theory that everyone is shamefully hiding the stack of books they’ve neglected to read this year from the world. “It’s not my fault!” one might say, “Some were incredibly thoughtful gifts; some were found while innocently scouring the Friends’ collection; and some were impulse buys that I’m definitely, absolutely going to find the time to read. Very soon. Probably.”

It often takes Big Life Stuff and its looming deadlines to force that to-read list out of the shadows. I’m down to a three month wire, and can see the time that I have to read for my own enjoyment shrinking away by the moment. There’s a big, beautiful stack of books in front of me demanding I visit their pages. Six books in three months—Game On! Read More..

Three on a Theme: Bookish Podcasts

LPL’s Book Squad Podcast just celebrated its eleventh episode, and let me tell you: it has been on fire lately.

Recent episodes feature discussions of classics like The Catcher in the Rye and Their Eyes Were Watching God, shout-outs to great events like the KU Black Love Symposium, and even a couple of recommendations from yours truly (still haven’t read Public Relations? Fix that now).

I could listen to people talk about books all day, and the explosion of book-themed podcasts makes that pretty darn possible. Whether you’re in the mood for book recommendations, author interviews, or deep-dives into book culture, there’s a podcast out there for you. I’ve collected a few of my favorites below. Read More..

5 Books to Read for LGBT History Month

In 1994, a group of teachers and community leaders in Missouri, led by high school teacher Rodney Wilson, sought to designate a month for the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history (http://lgbthistorymonth.com/background). With endorsements from GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and other national organizations, October has since been recognized as LGBT History Month, coinciding with traditions like Coming Out Day on the 11th.

As the Lawrence Public Library is committed to articulating the diversity of the Lawrence and the country, there are a number of resources on our shelves that expound the history of the LGBT community. Here are five recent titles in the library’s collection that celebrate and explore the lives and influence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals of the past and present:

Read More..

Look Play Listen Round Up – September

Hi Lawrence!

Look Play Listen is the library’s brand new media team.

Each month we’ll round up some of our favorite music, film/TV, and video game reviews from our staff and put them in one easy to read, easy to locate blog post. Keep an eye out. Read More..

Case Studies in Solitary Refinement

Although I am, in many ways, a Luddite at heart, I’ve become aware recently that I spend altogether too much time hopscotching across the internet, searching for news. I am also a news junkie, you see, and the interesting times we live in have had me riveted to my screen.

However, I’ve also noticed that too much screen time makes me feel grumpy and my brain feel sluggish and scattered. So, I’ve been making a concerted effort lately to set aside the tablet and pick up a book, to spend more time wandering in the place of deeper contemplation that opens up for me when I am really reading. Read More..

The Dilemma

If you’re a lover of books (or any kind of art, really) you’ll probably have faced this dilemma in your enjoyment of a beloved author – that day you find that they are actually a turd of a human being.

It’s happened over and over again to me. Here I stand, talking about books I love and sharing them with others, only only to find out the author is an anti-Semite, a racist, a misogynist, a pedophile, or generally just a nasty piece of work. And once that happens, the conversation ensues – can one still love the book if the author is a terrible person? (Or worse, are you a terrible person for still loving those books, now having the knowledge you have?) Read More..

There Can Only be One: A Biography of Everyone’s Favorite Device

“Today we’re introducing THREE revolutionary products… The first is a wide-screen iPod with touch control. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device.”

It’s 2007, only ten years ago. On stage, Steve Jobs continues: “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device.” And so the smartphone revolution started. Read More..

2017’s Best New Picture Books

Thank you, Dan Coleman, for writing a beautiful, nostalgic piece about the Vinland Fair, so I can go hog wild suggesting all of the newest picture books! Hooray for me! And you, fortuitous reader! I’m lucky enough to do storytime here at LPL, and while there are some challenging days of herding toddlers, it is a joy and a privilege to introduce children to literature and catch a small slice of their innocence and wonder.

When we started up storytime again this fall, I wanted to try something different: read a handful of random books, held together only by the fact that they were published in 2017. (Weirdly most of them are from February, who knew that was such a hot picture book publishing month?)

Here are a few of my favorites. My only disclaimer is that I chose these for a Toddler Storytime audience; I think ALL of these would work well for older and younger kids, I mean, they utterly delight me, but keep in mind they were picked to work for toddlers especially. Read More..

Renaissance Woman: Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston wrote during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, contributing novels and short stories, as well as literary anthropology. She was a bold woman surrounded by male peers and unparalleled in both talent and ideas. She died alone and impoverished, buried in an unmarked grave, without having received the recognition or recompense she so strongly deserved. Read More..