Back to Top

What’s Happening

2015 Annual Report—What A Year!

One thing is for sure: Lawrence uses its library. Our partnerships are growing, readers are reading, our community is learning, and it just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for another incredible year!

A huge thanks to Billy Pilgrim for making us look so beautiful on paper: 2015 Annual Report.

Free State FX Modular Synthesizer Launch Party!

We’ve been waiting forever to share this with you!

Come meet our new, modular synthesizer from Free State FX! This Saturday, April 16 from 2-4 PM we’ll go though the individual modules and walk through a handful of demo patches!

See who’s coming and meet up in the Sound+Vision Studio.

Celebration + Thanks Parade!

TUE | Apr 12 | 5 PM | Library Lawn

National Library Week is April 10-16 and we’re rallying library supporters for a walk to City Hall to say “thank you” for our wonderful library!

As if it couldn’t get any better, Michael and Morris the Monkey from our ridiculously popular Toddler Storytime will play music for our stroll! So, wear your library t-shirt, make a sign telling the City why you love your library, and we’ll provide the flags (red with white dots, of course!) Once we arrive at City Hall, there will be a brief, 5-minute presentation of the library’s annual report and a proclamation from our Mayor.

Help rally support with our Facebook event!

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 1.58.03 PM

Join us and bring friends!

5:00 PM — Assemble on the Library Lawn
5:15 PM — Parade walk begins with Michael & Morris
5:35 PM — Arrive at City Hall (Cheers! ♥)
5:45 PM — Proclamation kick-off with Mayor Mike Amyx

Youth Services_Michael Bradley pic 2

Life-Changing Recipe Contest

Calling all home cooks, local chefs, scout troops, foodies—Do you have a healthy corn dog or fried twinkie recipe?

Your recipe might be what it takes to help someone eat healthier without sacrificing decadence. On April 23rd, 2016, the Carnivale is rolling in to the library with entertainment, exhibits, and a spectacle of information will lead you through the annual Nutrition Carnivale, including a recipe contest!

In partnership with Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Health Spot, come on down if you’re up for the challenge! Win prizes and bragging rights: Enter here!

Tax Forms + Handy Tax Resources

Lawrence Public Library is receiving fewer tax forms from the IRS every year. This tax season, we have three forms available in the library’s checkout lobby: the 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ.

But what about the rest? You can download forms from the IRS and print them at home. If you don’t have a computer or printer, come use one of ours!

Need help doing your taxes? There are several services available right here in town. Our Information Services staff has organized what you need to know right here.

Tags: , , ,

Diversity and Your Public Library

Over the past several months, the topic of race, anti-black racism in particular, has heated up both nationally and on the KU campus. Now seems as good a time as any to say a few words about public libraries and the ways in which libraries can and should take an active role in promoting and celebrating diversity, and express solidarity with those who challenge and commit to ending institutionalized racism and sexism.

Public libraries are important civic institutions because they exist to provide free and easy access to information, and promote the kind of knowledge creation that fosters a more robust, informed citizenry. It is crucial that libraries provide these resources to all citizens, and most importantly to those who are the most disadvantaged and marginalized in our communities.

In addition to promoting more diverse stories and ways of being in our society, there is a long history in public libraries of active commitment to combating racism. To quote the American Library Association’s own Policy Manual:

“Since 1936, the American Library Association has been actively engaged in combating any and all attitudes, behavior, services or programs which amount to the exclusion or restriction of a targeted group of people based on a designation of race, skin color, ethnic origin or descent.

ALA also recognizes that institutionalized inequities based on race are embedded into our society and are reinforced through social institutions and further perpetuated by policies, practices, behaviors, traditions, and structures. And, since libraries are a microcosm of the larger society and play an important and unique role in the communities they serve, they must seek to provide an environment free of racism, where all are treated with respect and dignity.”

Respect and dignity. These are things we all seek as human beings, and libraries can help us better understand and celebrate the richness within our communities. Recently, I was watching the second season of Fargo. A character laments that the world used to be so much more simple and harkened back to the “good old days.” While simplicity is certainly something we all desire at times, simplicity must not come at the cost of limiting people’s freedoms. A world where “everyone knows their place” is simple, but I would argue that it is not a free democratic society. Celebrating the freedom for each of us to be ourselves fully without fear of physical threat or retribution—that is a world worth the effort—a world where we can appreciate one another for our infinite and fascinating perspectives.

Lawrence Public Library is committed to articulating the diversity of our community, our nation, and our world. With signature events showcasing interviews and performances by James McBride and Booker T. Jones, the library has sought to tackle and discuss issues of race in our society. Most recently, in collaboration with the Langston Hughes Center at KU, we’ve developed the Diverse Dialogues on Race and Culture series. KU Professor Chuck Epp presented on his book, Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship. KU Professor Randal Jelks recently discussed the broader vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. A Diverse Books book club is also in the works with our Readers Services team, inspired by a national movement for increased diversity in publishing. For some time now, we have been holding multicultural storytimes presented in international languages by local volunteers from the Lawrence community.

This February celebrates the 40th anniversary of our federal government’s recognition of Black History Month. In fact, it’s the 90th anniversary of Black History Week. We believe in connecting our community to information and stories that broaden our understanding of the diversity of our world every day of the year, not just in February (African-American), March (Women), May (Asian-Pacific), September (Hispanic/Latino), or November (Native American). In the coming year, we will also begin a community needs assessment to make certain we are serving Lawrence with the highest level of equity. Lawrence Public Library cares deeply about these issues and we strive daily to grow and to play our part in the continued battle against prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Join us in this journey. We’re all in this together.

Brad Allen & Lawrence Public Library Staff

Image created by David Jones

3… 2… 1… Blast-off! Astronauts are headed to Lawrence!

The countdown to Read Across Lawrence 2016 has officially started!

The Lawrence Public Library, in partnership with KU Libraries and the Friends of the Library, has a jaw-dropping lineup of events for February that starts with a big bang!

For Adults

Read Across Lawrence for Adults blasts off Thursday, January 28, at 7:00 PM in the Library Auditorium with free copies of The Martian by Andy Weir and an evening with science fiction authors and KU professors James Gunn, Chris McKitterick, and experimental particle physicist Philip Baringer, for a conversation about the marriage of science and technology throughout the history of the science fiction genre.

Heading into February, Barbara Anthony-Twarog, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, will lead the 110th birthday celebration of Kansan and Jayhawk Clyde Tombaugh — discoverer of Pluto — at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library (Feb 4). Lawrence’s Nerd Nite will focus on all things martian (Feb 10) and Leslie Von Holten, director of programs for the Kansas Humanities Council, will lead a discussion at The Wine Cellar about Mars, potatoes, and Matt Damon (Feb 11).

Music and movie lovers can explore the art of science fiction soundtracks with the KU Electronic Composition class, who will be scoring excerpts from the Japanese B-movie extravaganza, The Evil Brain from Outer Space (Feb 18). Bodacious bibliophile Kate Gramlich, LPL Readers’ Services Librarian, will lead a book talk about The Martian (Feb 21).

Read Across Lawrence for Adults enters its two-day grand finale at the Dole Institute of Politics on Wednesday, February 24, at 7:30 PM with award-winning 20/20 and ABC News reporter and author Lynn Sherr who will delve into her definitive biography, Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space.

On Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 PM, Lynn Sherr returns to moderate Two Astronauts, One Stellar Night, a discussion about the science behind The Martian at Liberty Hall. Her guests are KU physics and astronomy professor and former astronaut Dr. Steven Hawley, and Dr. John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for Science Mission Directorate. Doors open at 7 PM. Free tickets will be available starting February 5 at the Lawrence Public Library Welcome Desk.

To celebrate Read Across Lawrence 2016, the library is hosting an elegant, after-hours space-age fundraising party on Saturday, February 27 at 7 PM at the Lawrence Public Library. The theme is “Out of This World” and will offer food from Lawrence restaurants, music from the library’s SOUND+VISION studio, and a themed basket auction from Lawrence book clubs. Tickets and information can be found at

For Teens

Read Across Lawrence for Teens is nothing short of exceptional. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner enters Lawrence’s orbit on Wednesday, February 3 from 4-9 PM in the Library Auditorium with a book giveaway and testing of a homemade planetarium.

The library has a late-night teen movie lined up (Feb 5), a crystal radio-building afternoon (Feb 13), and a chance for teens to design their own galaxy-themed bags or shoes (Feb 20). The Kansas Cosmosphere will present Rockets: To the Moon, a program on the history of rockets through the story of Dr. Goddard — explosive demonstrations included. Teens can stick around to build their own paper rocket to launch with an air compressor. Space will be limited, so registration at the library will be key (Feb 19).

Read Across Lawrence for Teens peaks with a 12-hour Library Lock-in starting Friday, February 26 at 7:00 PM until 7:00 AM the following day. A lucky group of 25 6-12th graders will participate in the library’s own brand of space camp. A Skype interview with These Broken Stars authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner will start things off, then crafts, movies, and games — perhaps some sleep? — will occupy the wee hours until 7:00 AM Saturday morning. Registration and permission slips are required. Permission slips will be available starting February 3, and participants will be selected February 19.

For Kids

Read Across Lawrence for Kids kicks off in style with a pizza party provided by Papa John’s on Saturday, January 30 from 2-3 PM in the Library Auditorium. Lawrence’s youngest readers will get free copies of The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and watch as the library reveals a time capsule to be filled throughout February and sealed at the Read Across Lawrence finale.

Kids are invited to “capture time” by creating and decorating objects to be included in the library’s time capsule with help from the folks at the Spencer Museum of Art (Feb 3), and soar through the solar system in a dance workshop presented by Ellie Goudie-Averill of the Lawrence Arts Center (Feb 10). Local artists Kent Smith and Matthew Lord will guide children through a wacky hunt to find aliens — and who knows what else — in the library (Feb 13).

On Friday, February 19 from 2-3 PM in the Library Auditorium, the Cosmosphere returns to talk with kids about life in space and what it’s like to be an astronaut. Mad Science will be at the library for an exploration of gravity, centrifugal force, and the laws of motion with a rocket-propelled car demonstration carrying one brave kid from the audience (Feb 25). The Spencer Museum of Art will investigate outer space, constellations, and planets with kids while creating art that is out-of-this-world (Feb 26).

The finale event for Read Across Lawrence for Kids will include a Skype interview with the author himself. Adam Rex, artist and writer, will answer questions about The True Meaning of Smekday and the library will seal its time capsule until Read Across Lawrence 2021!

For more information call 785-843-3833.

Graphics_Webpage_Line divider smallest

IMAGE: Detail of “Library After Hours Fundraiser” invitation by Billy Pilgrim—we owe him an astronomical high-five for the wonderful design! Read Across Lawrence is an annual community-wide reading event that encourages everyone in Lawrence to read and discuss the same book. Scheduled for February 2016, Read Across Lawrence features books for children, teens, and adults that explore outer space.

Openings for February Certification

We’ve got four spots available for February’ Sound+Vision Studio Teen Certification Class.

Mondays from 3:30-5:30 PM, ages 13–18. You’ll get:

2/1 — Studio Basics / Intro to Digital Audio Workstations
2/8 — Acoustic Production Techniques (drums, bass, guitar, voice)
2/15 — Electronic Production Techniques (virtual instruments, MIDI instruments, Ableton, Reason)
2/22 — Mixing

Lawrence teens: We want to make it easier for you to use the studio without the ‘rents harshin’ your vibe. Just sign up for our first Sound+Vision Certification class! Parents—think STEAM.

Successful completion of all four, two-hour sessions allows for use of the Studio and Suites without adult supervision. Space is extremely limited so message us here or contact Ed Rose to reserve a spot.

Keep up-to-date on all things S+V here.

Healthcare Marketplace Open Enrollment — We Can Help

On November 1,  a new round of open enrollment started for the Affordable Care Act’s Health Care Marketplace.

It can be a challenge to navigate and we’re here to help.

Let’s get started.

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.

It lasts from NOV 1, 2015 — JAN 31, 2016.

What do we offer?
Beginning November 4th, we will have healthcare Navigator, Brandy Ordiway, in-house on Wednesday afternoons from 3-4:30 PM in the Health Spot.

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 it’s not a Wednesday or you 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

Read Across Lawrence 2016 is Out of This World!

Read Across Lawrence 2016 is Out of This World!

Lawrence Public Library, in partnership with KU Libraries and the Friends of the Library, today announced selections for the 2016 Read Across Lawrence program. This annual community-wide reading event encourages everyone in Lawrence to read and discuss the same book. Scheduled for February 2016, Read Across Lawrence will feature books for children, teens, and adults that explore outer space.

“We are over-the moon about the upcoming Read Across Lawrence program,” said Brad Allen, the library’s Executive Director. “The books will appeal to a wide audience and the programs will be phenomenal. We are so grateful to KU Libraries and the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library for their support in making it all possible.”

Free books and full program details will be provided in January. The selections are:


For Adults | The Martian by Andy Weir

(From the LPL catalog:) Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

these broken stars

For Teens | These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

(From the LPL catalog:) These Broken Stars is an epic, romantic young adult space opera about two star-crossed lovers who must fight for survival on a deserted planet: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes — the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

true meaning of smekdayFor Children | The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

(From the LPL catalog:) When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens — called Boov — abducted her mother? In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find her mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.