Back to Top

What’s Happening

Thomas Frank @ Liberty Hall

On Wednesday June 15 from 7:30-9 PM at Liberty Hall, we’re bringing New York Times bestselling author Thomas Frank to talk about his latest book as part of the Free State Festival (a Pre-State Festival appetizer, if you will.)

In Listen Liberal, Frank explores how current liberal politics abandons the working class, leading to greater income inequality. Book signing to follow.

This event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

Summer Reading Starts May 26!

Summer Reading Starts May 26! Summer reading is for all ages. This year we’re exercising our minds with books + events on art, science, fitness, literature, and summer fun. We’ll take you all over town from May 26—Aug 19!

Everything you need to know is right here.

As always, we want you to read. A lot. And as always, reading gets you great prizes and a shot at awesome grand prizes. We’ve also partnered with some great community organizations to bring you more.

Summer Reading is a totally local, totally fun way to keep your brain engaged all summer long.

All Dressed Up and Ready To Roll

May is National Bike Month! In honor of this great occasion, Lawrence Public Library is rolling out its new book bike. The bike is the library’s cool new outreach vehicle.

Look for it this summer at the Farmers Market, the Neighborhood Drop-In Playground Program in South Park, and other special events around the city. The book bike is part of the library’s Dr. Bob Reader Program and is made possible by a gift of the Bob Frederick Family.

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.