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LPL Welcomes Legendary Gospel, R&B, and Grammy-winning Singer Mavis Staples

We are thrilled to announce legendary R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples as our 780s Series music storyteller for 2018. She is a Grammy Award winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, and Kennedy Center Honoree.

Ms. Staples will spend an evening in Lawrence to share stories from her 60+ year music career on WedAPR 4 at 7:30 PM at Liberty Hall. Dr. Randal Jelks will lead the conversation. He is an awarding winning Professor of American Studies and African and African American Studies. The 9th Street Baptist Church Choir will sing before Ms. Staples takes the stage.

“The 780s Series with Mavis Staples” coincides with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

“Mavis Staples is the embodiment of the gospel impulse in music,” said Brad Allen, library executive director. “She has sung songs of that have lifted people up for over 60 years, both as a member of the Staple Singers and as a solo artist. With April 4th marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, I am humbled and awestruck at our opportunity to bring to Lawrence such an iconic legend of both African American music and the 1960s Freedom Movement.”

The program is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Doors open at 6:30 PM.

​Here’s Mavis singing for the Obamas at the White House!

Ms. Staples began her singing career in 1948 at age nine, a small girl with a big voice in her family gospel group, The Staple Singers. The Staple Singers emerged as one of the biggest gospel acts of the 1950s, evolved to become an important part both of the 1960s African American freedom movement and folk music scene, and finally ending up as a chart-topping soul group in the 1970s. Their biggest hit, “I’ll Take You There,” has been called “the epitome of the Muscle Shoals sound” and ranks #276 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Now let’s go back to 1972 with “Respect Yourself” from the Wattstax Concert with Mavis, Pops and her sisters…

Ms. Staples, now 78, continues to make records and perform live. She won her first Grammy with the 2010 album, You Are Not Alone, produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fame. Her most recent recording, If All I Was Was Black, another collaboration with Mr. Tweedy, was released in November 2017 and is one of her best, commenting directly on our current racial struggles in the United States.


Named for the Dewey Decimal range for music, the 780s Series is a gift to our community from the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation. The Series brings prominent music storytellers to Lawrence to share the stories behind their music. Previous guests have included Booker T. Jones (2015), Kim Gordon (2016), and Jimmy Webb (2017).

780s 2018 Mavis Staples logo suite





Catherine Reed’s “Avalanche”

Evoking massive forces of water and ice, Lawrence artist Catherine Reed’s mixed media Avalanche will be on display MAR 2 – March 30.

Reed’s installation, Avalanche, measures about 35 feet long and 6 feet high, and consists of knitted, crocheted, yarn, string, and netting. It will fill the space in our Self-Check Lobby through the month of March.

See more of Catherine’s work here.

The Greatest Healthy Eating Show in Lawrence!

Back again and better than ever! Come one, come all on SaturdayMAR 10 from 11 AM–1 PM.

Bring your best edible book entry and catch a glimpse of The Last Carnival’s aerial acrobatics, enjoy super fun activities, and win prizes.

You don’t miss the hilarious food freak show, either.

What’s an Edible Book? It’s so fun! Check out these examples. Simple or complicated, create an edible work of art based on the form, title, or content of a book. Enter as an individual or a team. Bring entries between 10-11 AM on Saturday, MAR 10.

No registration required to view the submissions and vote!

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

Book Squad Podcast 018: WE’VE GOT THE POWAH

Twice a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, and beyond. Listen to the latest episode:


Bookish News:

Awesome article on LitHub about inclusion in publishing. Dhonielle Clayton, COO of We Need Diverse Books (and former librarian!), said “I hate the term sensitivity reader. I prefer the term targeted beta reader because it’s more accurate. . . . I’m not being sensitive. I’m just an editor and it’s another level of editing.”  Click the link to read on!


Two Book Minimum:


She Said / She Said: THE POWER by Naomi Alderman

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

“In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.”

Obama loved this book and so did we. The holds list is a little ridic, so here’s a blog post that suggests things to read while you’re waiting! (Or, buy it at The Raven Bookstore!!)


What we’re up to // Library news:

Read Across Lawrence begins soon! Lizzie Velasquez talk at Lied Center on SUN 3/11 at 3:30pm. More info here – DON’T MISS THIS!



This episode was produced by Jim Barnes in the Sound & Vision studio. Our theme song is by Heidi Lynne Gluck. You can find the Book Squad Podcast on iTunesStitcher, or SoundCloud. Please subscribe and leave us comments – we’d love to know what you think, and your comments make it easier for other people to find our podcast. Happy reading and listening! xo, Polli & Kate

LPL Friends — A Gift that Keeps on Giving

When you get a chance, thank any of the 227 active Friends of the Lawrence Public Library volunteers who keep their efforts alive day in and day out.

They just finished another heavy-hitting year. Following 2016′s unprecedented $100,000 donation, Lawrence Public Library just received a whopping $90,000 at the end of 2017.

With huge attendance to their book sales combined with online sales via Amazon, they’ve built a network of incredibly generous bookish folks to help keep LPL running smoothly.

The Friends changed the game when they launched DownHall Books — a static display of various reads for sale on the honor system — that has passively earned $2,000 on its own by simply being available.

The Friends’ incredible gifts support our signature events like Summer Reading and Read Across Lawrence, help us spread the library word in our community, and keep our sweet saltwater (and fresh!) fish friends fed. You can become a Friend, too, and join the greatest group of library advocates that we’ve ever seen.

Without Friends, Lawrence Public Library simply wouldn’t be the place it is today.

LPL Friends logo card book shop storage














Read​ ​Across​ ​Lawrence​ ​2018​ ​Is​ ​Bound​ ​to​ ​Be​ ​Wonder​-ful!

Read Across Lawrence is just around the corner and this year we’ve chosen to feature one book for all ages: Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

The New York Times bestseller is about August Pullman, a boy with a facial difference who wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

“We picked Wonder because we feel it speaks to all ages. It sends an important message of kindness, hope, and the power of friendship at a time when bullying has reached epidemic proportions,” said Brad Allen, executive director of Lawrence Public Library. “It’s also important to us to show that good literature is being produced for children. Once we grow up, we typically don’t read it anymore and this is a chance for the ‘big kids’ to get back to their roots.”

Read Across Lawrence runs FEB 14–MAR 17, 2018 and will be packed with programs and activities for all ages to explore Wonder’s themes of kindness and acceptance.

Stay tuned for a full program of events to be announced in January.

In partnership with KU Libraries, the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library, and the Lawrence Public Library Foundation, this annual community-wide reading event encourages everyone in Lawrence to read and discuss the same book. Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence Schools Foundation, and Lawrence Public Library teamed up and received a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation to supply 1,000 copies of the book to students, teachers, and classrooms all over Lawrence.

“This book is destined to be a classic. We’ve got a month of phenomenal library programs planned. We’re so grateful to KU Libraries, the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library, the Lawrence Public Library Foundation, and our many other partners for their generous support in making this all possible,” Allen added.

GET A FREE COPY OF WONDER! 2017 Wonder Read Across LawrenceJoin us Monday, JAN 15 at 1 PM in the auditorium for our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service celebration and get a free copy of Wonder. In addition to a diversity-focused storytime and a screening of The 13th, a free lunch will be provided by Hy-Vee from 12-1 PM with a book giveaway to follow. First come, first served until books are gone. Please limit one per family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Wonder is author R.J. Palacio’s debut novel. It has been on the New York Times bestseller list since March 2012 and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The book’s message of kindness has inspired the Choose Kind movement, and has been embraced by readers young and old around the world. Palacio lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two sons, and two dogs (Bear and Beau).


2017 RAL Partners Header Media Release





BNSF logo

Midco Invests $90K in the Library’s Computer Lab

Noting the importance of education, as well as the value of a vibrant public library, Midco has awarded $90,000 to the Lawrence Public Library’s computer lab.

The money will be used to update the lab computers and the software used throughout the library over the next six years.

“Computer and internet access is something we all have come to depend on. However, a good number of our patrons do not have a computer or access to the internet at home, so they depend on the library to connect to the wider world,” said Kathleen Morgan, Director of Development and Community Partnerships. “They use the computers to apply for benefits, look for and apply for jobs or simply to find out what’s happening in the world around them.”

Midco’s gift has already allowed the library to replace all of the computers and monitors in the computer lab. In addition, the library has purchased new Chromebooks for patrons to check out and use in the library. Looking ahead, the library plans to update the computers just outside the computer lab as well as in the children’s department and teen zone.

“Lawrence Public Library depends on private gifts to supplement and strengthen the public’s investment in the library,” said Morgan. “Midco’s generous gift will make it possible for the library to keep its technology up-to-date for the community. We are humbled by Midco’s generosity.”

2017 MIDCO gift check photo 600pxw
















About Midco

Founded in 1931, Midco is the leading provider of internet and networking, cable TV, phone, data center and managed services, home automation and advertising services in the Midwest. More than 380,000 residential and business customers count on Midco services in 342 communities in Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Midco will deliver advanced gigabit internet technology to most customers by the end of 2017. Visit to learn more about Midco and how the company gives back to the communities it serves.

Healthcare Marketplace Open Enrollment — We Can Help

Help is here. Healthcare Marketplace open enrollment has started and it can be a challenge to navigate. Open enrollment ends DEC 15, 2017.

What do we offer?

A healthcare Navigator is here to assist you. Meet up in our Health Spot located upstairs along the north side of the library.

Schedule through December 15:

  • Mondays | Nov 13, 20, 27 | 3-6 PM
  • Fridays | 3-5 PM

What’s Open Enrollment? Health insurance is renewed each year during a period called “open enrollment.” This is the time to join or change plans, carriers, etc. in your insurance coverage.

What’s a Navigator? It’s a trained expert on all the ins and outs about signing up for or renewing health insurance. They can answer questions, enroll patrons for insurance, and much more. And they’re rare — only about 6 of them in our county — so, we’re lucky to have her join us once a week through February.

Where can you go for information? If you miss the Navigator and/or need additional insurance resources, you’ll find:

  • Brochures located in the Health Spot
  • Cover Kansas ( for additional Navigator assistance
  • Health Insurance Marketplace ( to sign up directly or get more information

Light Up Your Day with a SAD Lamp

Winter got you down? Our popular SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamps are back to help you get your circadian rhythm in gear.

Find a cozy spot here at the library and use it, or take one home for a whole 14 days. Get on hold for one here. Questions? Kate’s got you covered:


  1. How many SAD Lamps does LPL have?
    We have 4 tabletop units for in-house use and 4 tablet-sized lamps for checkout.
  2. Where can SAD Lamps be found?
    In the Health Spot. If you can’t find one, that means they’re likely checked out/in use. Visit a desk for help getting on hold for one.
  3. How can I use a SAD Lamps just at the library?
    You’re welcome to use a lamp anywhere within the library for an unlimited amount of time — although about 30–60 minutes is recommended. You don’t need a library card to use them on site.
  4. What comes with the circulating SAD Lamps?
    You’ll get one tablet-sized lamp, wall charger, and an instruction booklet, all inside a hard plastic case. All items must be returned to the Accounts Desk to avoid a replacement fee.
  5. How long can I keep it and what are the terms?
    You can keep it for 14 days
    You can renew it once
    Holds are allowed
    Only one lamp per patron at a time
    Overdue fine of 15 cents/day (max $4.50)
    The cost of replacement is $44.99
    Check lamps out at self-check machines
    Return them to our Accounts Desk

Sad Lamp

NEW! Book Squad Podcast 013: The Dilemma! The Art vs. The Artist

Can a work of art be separated from the artist? Kate and Polli have feelz.

The librarians are in! Tune in for Kate and Polli’s favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world, and updates from Lawrence Public Library and beyond.

Grab your earbuds, settle in, and press the red PLAY button to listen:

Book Squad Podcast web banner