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See You In Paradise with J. Robert Lennon

Thursday November 6th at 7pm in the Auditorium

J. Robert Lennon, the author of seven novels, including Mailman, and Familiar, will read from his latest short story collection, See You In Paradise.

Haunting, surreal, and often tinged with science fiction elements, Lennon’s work is driven by a fertile, experimental imagination and an interest in examining suburban malaise. He creates strange, unsettling, dystopian fictional worlds that may be real or may be manifestations of his protagonist’s obsessions, pathologies, or damaged psychological states. Drawing on 15 years of work, this excellent collection includes a rich variety of short stories that explore these distinctive themes. Some of the stories are idea-driven, and they often highlight Lennon’s interest in science fiction and flair for the macabre. “The Wraith,” for example, is a potent and disturbing story about an unhappy suburban couple who suddenly find themselves living with a zombielike supernatural creature. Other entries are more character driven, and these are among the best in the collection. “Total Humiliation in 1987,” for example, is an accomplished, emotionally moving psychological study of a marriage falling publicly and ignominiously apart in front of a couple’s teenage children during a summer vacation. Lennon examines the suddenly unfathomable gulf that has grown between these parents with intelligence and pathos.  An eerie, disquieting, and powerful collection; recommended for fans of literary fiction. -From Library Journal


Friends Book Sale

Join the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library for another monthly book sale! Adult, young adult, and children’s books will all be available, including fiction and nonfiction, plus DVDs and CDs – and at great prices!

October Book Sale Dates:

  • Thursday, October 30, 5:00 – 8:00pm (member night, memberships available at the door, beginning at $10) 
  • Friday, October 31, 10:00am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday, November 1, 10:00am – 4:00pm

November Book Sale Dates:

  • Friday, November 28, 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Saturday, November 29, 10:00am – 6:00pm

Donations Accepted:

  • Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Sunday, November 9, 1:00pm – 3:00 pm

Donations of up to 4 grocery bags of books, cd’s or dvd’s  will be accepted. We do not accept magazines, records, VHS or cassette tapes. Thank you! Drop off may be made at the lower level, Kentucky Street side at the garage door.

James McBride – TONIGHT!

Reigning National Book Award winner James McBride will visit Lawrence TONIGHT (Oct. 22), 7:30 pm at Liberty Hall, as we kick off the first annual Ross and Marianna Beach Author Series. If you weren’t able to get tickets to the event, try your luck at the door! Because of the Royals game, we’re expecting some open seats. Any open chairs at 7:15pm will go to those waiting in line. 

This exciting new program brings nationally-recognized authors to the library thanks to generous grants from The Ross & Marianna Beach Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird offers a blend of humor and history. It’s McBride’s latest novel, and is an irreverent and funny fictional account of a young slave who joins John Brown’s abolitionist mission. The book won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

Taking the stage with McBride is the Good Lord Bird Band, a gospel jazz quintet that provides a unique musical backup to the author’s readings from the novel. The evening also will include a special performance by Lawrence’s Ninth Street Baptist Church choir. Together they will provide a memorable and exuberant evening of words and music.

Want to know James McBride’s favorite books? See his list of favorite reads here.

Want to try some books similar to The Good Lord Bird? See our staff picks list here.

Costume Contest!

Show off your cosplay skills and take part in our Teen Read Week Costume Contest. We’ll vote on our favorites and award some awesome prizes for the top 3 costumes.

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Volunteer at the Library

Interested in volunteering at the library? We’re now accepting volunteer applications! You can pick up a volunteer handbook (application inside) at the library, or read the information on this page. At the bottom of this page is the volunteer application. Please read through this information to find out what volunteering at LPL means, what opportunities are available, and how we select volunteers. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email us at

About the Library

The Lawrence Public Library, recently renovated and reinvigorated, is a vibrant space and place in the heart of the city of Lawrence.  The mission and vision of the library is to offer a warm and welcoming place, where the community gathers to create, to connect, to learn, to be inspired, and to read. Our goal: each visitor will be delighted by our friendly, fearless, and effective service.

LPL provides volunteer opportunities for community members that wish to have a far-reaching impact. Serving as docents, at the welcome desk, and shelving experts, our volunteers are often the first person a patron will meet at the library. We are looking for people with the highest standards of customer service, demonstrable appreciation for LPL’s mission and vision, and a fun and creative presence.

Many times it has been said the volunteers are “priceless”, but we disagree.  What a volunteer provides the community indeed can be monetized and that is crucial to a library. Volunteers at LPL function as auxiliary staff, and your service can double or triple value of the funds that have been invested in the library.

Volunteers matter at the Lawrence Public Library.  Welcome to the team!

Volunteering at LPL

Our goal is for library volunteers to feel their time is valued, benefits their community, and supports the mission of the library. We take extra care that volunteers are a great match for the library, and are properly equipped and trained.

Volunteer Interview

Your time and talents are important to us. Rather than immediately throwing you into the mix, we want to make sure your volunteering benefits both you and the library. To find out if we’re a good match, our volunteer coordinator will contact you for a short interview to better understand your skills, interests, and commitment level. We will select those whose talents best fit the current needs of the library. Those selected will then attend an orientation session.


All selected volunteers will attend an orientation session. The orientation will cover basic library information, give a thorough tour of the building, introduce you to staff, and talk about customer service. You’ll then receive your specific volunteer assignment to dive into the deeper details of your work.


Your first day as a volunteer will consist of an on-the-floor training, shadowing employees and/or other trained volunteers. As you begin your job, you’ll have the right support to ask questions, learn how to complete your tasks, and get connected to other staff/volunteers.

Volunteer Specifics

Dress Code

We ask that volunteers wear neat, properly fitting, clean clothing that is appropriate to their work assignment. Every volunteer will also have a lanyard to help library staff and public identify you.


Transactions between Lawrence Public Library patrons, staff, and volunteers are confidential, and volunteers are asked to uphold this policy. This includes any information concerning what materials a patron viewed, requested, checked out, or any reference question asked.

Customer Service

Lawrence Public Library works hard to provide high quality and consistent customer service to every patron. We expect our staff and volunteers to “go the extra mile” to serve our patrons.

3 Month Follow-up

After 3 months of service, volunteers and their library point of contact will have an opportunity to evaluate their experience. Any questions or problems can be addressed at this time. Good communication is essential.

Volunteering FAQs

Where do I park?

The Vermont Street garage next to the library has 325 parking spaces. Street level parking is free for two hours and parking on the top of the garage is free all day. Middle level parking is $1 per 24-hour period. Cash, credit, and debit cards are accepted.

Where do I put my stuff?

There are no lockers or other secure areas for volunteers to leave purses and other belongings. Please lock your valuables in your car. Lawrence Public Library is not liable for lost or stolen personal property.

Can I bring a friend with me when I volunteer?

Sorry, if your friend is has not gone through the library volunteer application process, he or she cannot help you work while volunteering at the library.

Who do I contact if I cannot work my shift?

When you attend your orientation session, you will be given the name and contact information for the main library personnel you’ll be working with. This is who you should contact if you cannot make your scheduled volunteer shift.

Can anyone work with kids and teens?

For the safety and security of our patrons, anyone working with children under the age of 18 may be subject to a background check.

Volunteer Opportunities

Welcome Desk

Do you love the library? Would you like to share that passion with others? We’re looking for enthusiastic individuals to help staff our Welcome Desk. You will be the first stop for patrons looking for information about the library, collections, and events. Welcome Desk volunteers will need to:

  • Love helping others
  • Be the face of the library and make patrons feel welcome
  • Have great public speaking and customer service skills
  • Be familiar with computers and the library catalog
  • Monitor the library’s security gates.
  • This position will require two hour shifts on nights and weekends and some weekdays.


Are you excited about the library and want to share that passion with others? We’re looking for individuals who love the library and want to learn all the ins and outs of the building. Docents will be schooled on all physical areas of the library and its services in order to give scheduled tours to visitors. Docents will:

  • Be the friendly face of the library and make patrons feel welcome
  • Know the library and where to find information
  • Have great public speaking and customer service skills
  • Hours for this position will vary, but are likely during weekday mornings and on weekends, usually by appointment.


Do you love to organize? Is book browsing your thing? Shelving may be right for you! This position assists in shelving returned library materials as well as reading and shifting library collections. Volunteer shelvers will need to:

  • Be able to discern letters and numbers as well as have some basic understanding of library organization.
  • Have the ability to reach up high and to sit, climb or
  • balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, & crawl to make sure items get into their correct places.
  • Be able to lift, push, and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • The position requires at least two hours of work a week. We are currently looking for volunteers to shelve Monday and Friday mornings as well as Wednesday afternoons.

Adult Programs and Events Assistant

We’re seeking individuals that are interested in helping with adult library programs and events. This position will help prep for programs, set-up tables and chairs, assist during programs, and help clean up and tear down events. Program and Events Assistants will need to:

  • Have a passion for community involvement & connections.
  • Have great hospitality & customer service skills
  • Be able to lift, move, and/or shift up to 25 pounds.
  • Hours for this position vary but are likely on evenings and weekends.


VolunTeens (7th-12th grades)

VolunTeens play an important role at Lawrence Public Library The Fall/Spring VolunTeen Program is separate from our summer program and so past VolunTeens will need to submit a new application if they wish to participate. VolunTeens will report to the Teen Librarian.

Requirements for VolunTeens: 

  • Must be in 7th-12th Grade
  • Must have parental/guardian’s permission
  • Available to work a weekly shift of 1 or 2 hours depending on area of interest
  • Must attend training session prior to start of program
  • Sign and return VolunTeen agreement.

Your application must include: 

  • Completed and signed application form
  • Letter of recommendation from an employer, teacher, school counselor, adult youth group or club leader. This person should be able to speak to your reliability and dedication. They may not be a family member.

Children’s Assistant

This position will assist in shelving books and materials in the children’s section of the library. You must have the ability to reach up high and to sit, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl to make sure items get into their correct places. You must also be able to lift, push, and/or move up to 25 pounds. On occasion you may also be asked to assist with children’s programming. Requires a regular 2 hours per week time commitment.

Teen and Adult Assistant

This position will assist in shelving books and materials in the teen and adult sections of the library. You must have the ability to reach up high and to sit, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl to make sure items get into their correct places. You must also be able to lift, push, and/or move up to 25 pounds. On occasion you may also be asked to assist with library programs. This position requires a regular 1-2 hours per week time commitment.

Summer Teens

The library also hosts a larger volunteer program for teens over the summer. We typically seek applications for summer VolunTeens in April. Positions over the summer are for:

  • Shelvers
  • Teen Program Assistants
  • Children’s Program Assistants
  • Children’s Workroom Assistants
  • Tech Services Assistants
  • Special Project Assistants
  • Teens must be available for 2-3 hours on a weekly basis over the summer. More information about the Summer VolunTeens is available starting in April.

*By signing the application form, you understand you must be between the ages of 13 and 18 of age. If you are chosen to participate in the VolunTeen program, you agree to work when scheduled, arrive on time, dress appropriately, represent yourself and the library well, and provide productive assistance to the library. 



Volunteer Application

* denotes a required field.

Name *

Street Address*

Email *

Phone *

Highest Education Level*

Are you interested in ongoing volunteer work?*
 Yes No

If yes, how many hours per week?

Are you interested in a short-term volunteer project?*
 Yes No

If yes, how many hours per week?

Which volunteer opportunity are you most interested in?*

Mark the time slots you are available to volunteer*
Sunday  Afternoon
Monday  Morning Afternoon Evening
Tuesday  Morning Afternoon Evening
Wednesday  Morning Afternoon Evening
Thursday  Morning Afternoon Evening
Friday  Morning Afternoon Evening
Saturday  Morning Afternoon

Why are you interested in volunteering? Please indicate if you are completing requirements for a specific purpose or organization.*

Tell us about your skills, training, interests, and hobbies.*

What previous volunteer experience do you have?*

Electronic Signature:*



Grade this fall:


Are there any dates or weeks you know you will be unavailable?

Teens, Please attach your letter of recommendation!

For our teen volunteers, after you have submitted your volunteer application you will receive a follow up email that your guardian will need to sign before you are able to participate in the volunteer program.

Please type the following phrase into the box provided:


Teen Zone hosts National Novel Writing Month events

The Teen Zone will host multiple writing themed events throughout November to help you write the next great novel while celebrating National Novel Writing Month.

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Grant Funding Workshop

Wednesday, October 29th
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Library Auditorium
Grant Funding Workshop

Presenter: Kief Schladweiler, Funding Information Network Services Specialist with the Foundation Center. The Foundation Center is the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy and serves grantseekers, grantmakers, and the general public. This workshop is free. You are welcome to bring your lunch!

Learn how to draft a grant proposal and discover the grant funding resources available at your library. Learn the key components of a proposal to a foundation, including:

  • What funders expect to see in your grant proposal
  • Tips for communicating with funders during the grant process
  • Additional resources on proposal writing, including sample proposals

Douglas County Community Foundation and United Way of Douglas County partnered with Lawrence Public Library to sponsor this class.

Please register at 785-843-3833 or

Lawrence Public Library is a part of the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network. Our partnership in the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network is made possible by the generous support of the Douglas County Community Foundation.

Star Wars Reads Day III

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

Star Wars Reads Day happened for the third year in a row (and this time, it’s for all ages)! Join us on Saturday, October 11, from 2:00-4:00 at 512 E 9th Street to celebrate all things Star Wars with tasty snacks from the cantina, crafts for your home and wardrobe, and high tech fun courtesy of Lawrence Creates Maker space.

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Karaoke Cafe

Friday, Sept. 26 4:00-6:00pm. We’ll be serving up more snacks and drinks than usual to prep you for singing with your friends. Come join us for karaoke madness.

Karaoke Cafe will take place in the Readers’ Theater just off the Teen Zone.

Snack Smart

This Thursday September 18th at 4:00 come to the Reader’s Theater and learn all the delicious details of healthy snacks and even try some!

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