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Luaka Bop and the World Psychedelic Classics

Almost 30 years ago, David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) founded a record label “to turn people onto stuff [he] liked.” Because he’s David Byrne, and because he’s eminently cooler than you or me, the stuff he liked was Brazilian pop music.

In January of ‘89 Byrne released his first compilation, Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical. Three other Brazil Classics followed. From there, Luaka Bop–a record label name Byrne nicked off some tea packaging– and along with its eyeballed, “rather obscure Masonic” logo started to jump all over the globe. Cuba, England, India, West Africa, Japan, etc.

I wish I could claim to be a lifetime follower of Luaka Bop, but the truth is I’m a new convert. I hadn’t heard of the label until I stumbled upon the fifth of its World Psychedelic Classics series, Who is William Onyeabor? a year or two back. Read More..

Handpicked Just for You!

Lots of LPL staff are avid gamers, music explorers, and movie watchers. And now we get to share our favorite “looks, plays, and listens” with you.

Our new LookPlayListen display in the media room is chock-full of staff picks. Each item comes with a sweet lil’ summary of why we loved it in hopes that you’ll take it home and love it, too.

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Don’t Forget the Bootleg Series

There’s no dearth of Bob Dylan’s music. Last year the septuagenarian nobel laureate singing  songwriting extraordinaire released yet another LP. That brings him to a total of 37 studio albums, 58 singles, 11 live “albums”—some of which, like the 32 disc The 1966 Live Recordings defy any conventional definition of the word album—another 31 compilation albums, and a whole mess of collaborations. And that’s not all, as any Dylanologist worth their salt will tell you, don’t forget TheBootleg Series. Read More..

Attention Hoopla Users!

If you’re a hoopla user, starting Tuesday September 5, you’ll notice a few changes to the service.

After thoughtful evaluation, we’ve made some decisions that will yield a bigger bang for your buck and allow us to focus on what’s in demand. We’ve tried to anticipate questions below, but if we missed something, email Tricia or William for answers.


In a Nutshell:

  • You’ll have a NEW monthly check out limit of 4 per library card (was 5)
  • Audiobooks, eBooks and Comics will still be available for checkout
  • Movies, TV shows, and music will no longer be available for checkout
  • A daily spending limit will apply (see below)

Q: Why are you lowering the monthly checkout limit from 5 to 4?

The library pays an average of $2.19 for every title you check out from Hoopla — regardless of whether you read it or not. In reviewing our stats, we found that the majority of patrons use no more than 3 checkouts. By lowering the checkouts to four, we can better manage the overall cost to the library while evening the playing field between our power users and those who only check out a few titles a month.

Q: Why are Hoopla videos and music going away?

It’s hard for the library to compete with video and music streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora and other sources for cheap or free popular content. In the past year, we’ve found that Audiobooks and eBooks are the most popular formats on Hoopla. By turning off Hoopla videos and music, we can focus our budget on providing the content that’s most in demand and not easily available to you otherwise.

For streaming video, we would encourage you to check out Kanopy. With over 26,000 movies, documentaries, and indie and foreign films from over hundreds of producers, Kanopy provides libraries content that you normally can’t get from consumer streaming services like Netflix, including The Criterion Collection and The Great Courses.

Q: I got a message that says, “Our daily limit has been reached. Please continue to browse, add favorites and come back tomorrow.” What does that mean?

We now have a daily spending cap on Hoopla to moderate how much we spend on Hoopla each month. For example, when we take the monthly budget of $8150 / 31 days =  $263 per day. When the daily cap has been reached, no one will be able to check out for the rest of the day. This doesn’t mean you’ve lost any of your 4 checkouts — just that you’ll have to wait until the daily limit is reset. This occurs around 7 PM CST.

Q: What time of day is the daily limit reset?

The daily budget resets at midnight universal time, which will vary between 6 PM and 7 PM Lawrence time, depending on daylight savings.

Summer Soundtracks

Ah summer.

Grown-up summer has a lot going against it. The days of three month summer vacation are long gone, and the electricity bill is higher than ever. The humidity leaves your shirt sticking to your back the moment you step outside, and getting into your car will cook you alive. The scent of chlorine is everywhere. But despite it all, I love summertime.

Part of that is the soundtrack.

Every year, starting in the late spring and going right through August, I do a little time travelling. Old friends like Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, and, of course, the “Fab Four” keep me constant company. A couple of classic seventies acts make appearances as well.

Is it the weather? Is it the image of hippy dippy types frolicking in the sun? I don’t know. There’s nothing to stop me from listening to these fellas year round, but for whatever reason they inevitably take over around now. It just makes sense!

Am I alone here? I got a handful of LPL audiophiles to share their summer soundtracks to find out. Read More..

FIRE DOG

On Thursday, July 20  at 11 AM and 2 PM in the Auditorium, FIRE DOG will be performing at LPL!!!!! FIRE DOG is a powerful trio of musicians that skillfully harness youthful energy and sophisticated songwriting. Their songs are humorous, poignant, original, and entertaining. This summer FIRE DOG brings you new educational tunes from their album “Endangered Species Project. TWO FREE SHOWS! ALL AGES!

All-ages Dinner + A Movie: LEGO Batman

Join us on Friday, June 23 from 7:30-11 PM for hot dogs, and smoothies, and crepes, oh my!

Downtown Lawrence Inc. and Lawrence Public Library invite you to eat some grub, listen to some music, and watch a movie. Grab dinner from local vendors at 7:30, settle in for some music from Joel Bonner and the Boot Stompers, then at 9, we’ll push play!


Watch the trailer!

Dreaming the Beatles

Rob Sheffield, a music columnist with twenty years experience who currently writes for Rolling Stone magazine has recently released a new book: Dreaming the Beatles. Roughly ten years ago, I read Sheffield’s first book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, a heart wrenching autobiographical memoir concerning his late wife and their shared passion for music via the art of the mix tape.

And in 2016, Sheffield produced another emotional collection, On Bowie, a homage to David Bowie’s legacy as told through fan’s memories, as well as his own. It was a read that left me as gutted as Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, due to the artist’s passing months prior. Now, if there is one thing that Rob Sheffield excels at, it’s portraying the visceral connection between music fans and the musicians they admire, so when I picked up Dreaming the Beatles I knew it was my ticket to ride. Read More..

780s Series Presents Legendary Songwriter Jimmy Webb

We’re so excited to announce that songwriter Jimmy Webb is the library’s 780s Series music storyteller for 2017.

Webb is a songwriting legend.

Rolling Stone has called him one of the 50 greatest songwriters of all time and he’s worked with music megastars like Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, Richard Harris, The Fifth Dimension, and Art Garfunkel. He also wrote the soundtrack for The Last Unicorn.

Webb will take the Liberty Hall stage on Wednesday, July 19 at 7 PM to share stories and songs from his 50+ year music career. Named for the Dewey Decimal range for music, the 780s Series brings prominent music storytellers to Lawrence to share the stories behind their music. Previous guests have included Booker T. Jones (2015) and Kim Gordon (2016).

Made possible by the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation.

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Image courtesy of the artist.

SOUND + VISION Studio’s Intro to Logic Pro

If you like GarageBand, then you’ll love the power and creativity of its cool big brother, Logic Pro. On Friday, May 19 from 5-6 PM, we’re meeting up in the SOUND + VISION Studio to learn the ins and outs of our newest music production software, Apple’s Logic Pro X.

From writing a song from scratch all the way to mixing it down for a worldwide release, Logic Pro gives you all the tools you need to create, edit, and deliver your best music. We’ll show you how it works.