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Polli Kenn

The Sorry State We’re In

A few months ago I was invited to be a guest at the “sneak peek” of Harriet Lerner’s TEDxKC talk for her upcoming book Why Won’t You Apologize: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts. Lerner had made a huge impact in my life with her 1998 book The Mother Dance, so I was excited for the opportunity to see her discuss her work.

On Thursday, January 19th at 7pm,  Harriet will be speaking about her new book at LPL so all of Lawrence will get to bask in her warmth and insight, too! Read More..

Book Squad Podcast: 04 – Destiny of the Republic, end-of-year lists, and more!

Introducing Audio Reader’s new Book Podcast program, with the wonderful Book Squad librarians from Lawrence Public Library!

Once a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic in She Said/She Said, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, Audio Reader programs and beyond. Read More..

The Best Books from the Worst Year

Let’s be honest, 2016 has been kind of a hot mess. Between so many celebrity deaths (David Bowie, Sharon Jones, Prince, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel… holy cow, SO MANY) and some, uh, general upheaval, most people are ready to write this one off as a loss.

But! As much as we’d like to say goodbye and good riddance to the year as a whole, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the very good things that came from 2016; this year has offered readers a wealth of fabulous new books. Debut authors and big-hitters alike have released incredible works in 2016, and the staff of LPL would like to share a few of our favorites. If you’re looking for great gifts for bibliophiles in your life, try one of these librarian-approved reads: Read More..

Book Squad Podcast: 03 – Winter Reading and More!

The Book Squad Podcast

a collaboration with AudioReader.

Once a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world and bookish-Lawrence. Listen to the latest episode: Read More..

A Librarian’s Search for Meaning

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. –  Friedrich Nietzsche

Two days after the election, I was in New York for business, and I found myself roaming the streets of Brooklyn. Everywhere I went, people seemed to be trying to make sense of the incredible divide in our country. Some people claimed to be shocked. Others claimed to be unsurprised, but there was a palpable sense of people searching for threads of understanding they could weave into substance while absorbing the outcome of a long and contentious campaign. Read More..

The Book Squad Podcast: Ep 01, 02

The Book Squad Podcast

a collaboration with AudioReader.

Once a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world and bookish-Lawrence. Listen to the latest episode: Read More..

Shakespeare 400 at the Library

Perhaps you’re all up to date on #Shakespeare400, but I (and here I hang my librarian head) have only paid glancing attention to the worldwide celebration of the Bard’s “passing through nature to eternity.”

Thankfully, I’ll be given the chance to remedy my oversight when on Final Friday, July 29th at 6:00 PM, Lawrence Opera Theatre (LOT) will be showcasing their 7th season in the library auditorium. Luminous voices from LOT will be performing songs and arias from the coming season, which captures the words of William Shakespeare set to music. Read More..

2016′s New Book Club Services

It’s Thursday, you’re counting down the hours until the workday is done, and you have book club tonight. Not only do you have book club, it’s YOUR TURN to host. You’ve got cheese dip to make, pinot to purchase, and you still don’t know what book to suggest to your group for next month. Under pressure, you google what’s big on Amazon right now and throw a metaphorical dart. (Besides, your club never seems to agree on a book, so you figure it really doesn’t really matter anyway.)

Convenient printable PDF of our new services.

Read More..

Required Reading: Between the World and Me

I just finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me, or should I say, it just finished me. One of those books, you see.

Written as a letter to his son about his experiences in a black body in America, it is both a memoir and a lesson. I suspect when one reads a memoir, one looks to see: where did we act similarly, how are we different? What human experiences do we share in common? What life lessons can I learn from this person? Coates asked me to go bigger, and higher and beyond. Read More..

Genre Book Club: All Gushing, No Shushing!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: we library folk want to talk about books with you. We absolutely do. Research shows that when people are looking for something new to read, librarians are your go to only 19% of the time. Que pasa, y’all? Perhaps you see us out shelving books in the stacks and you, considerate souls that you are, don’t want to bother us. Or maybe (I’ve been told) you’re concerned that we’ll judge what you’re reading (or not reading) and would rather poke around on your own, rather than risk getting librarian side-eye.

Let me assure you – we don’t judge. Truly. We are “imperfect” readers, too, who just want to have a bookish conversation with other readers. We like to laugh about truly awful romance covers that hide quite good content. We love hearing about that unusual book that changed your life. We are curious about why you don’t like the award winning book everyone else seems to love. If you’re interested, we want to give you reading suggestions, too – in person and online.

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At LPL, our mission in the Readers’ Services department, home of The Book Squad, is to connect people with the stories that enrich their lives. In order to do that, we review books and create reading lists in the LPL catalog. We chat with you in the stacks, offer you a few books, and hope you’ll come back and let us know what you thought. We create personalized reading suggestions for you. We can even help your book club find their next read and supply the books in one handy bag.

One program we’ve started to encourage community conversations about reading is the Genre Book Club, hosted once a month. Our staff puts together a list of highly rated and representative books in a genre, and you call or email to request one or two of those books to try out. Then, on the second Sunday of the month, we sit around snacking and talking about what we read, what we thought, and learn more about the genre in general.  Easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

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Genre Book Club is a way to discover something new, without making a huge time commitment. It can also be a great way to meet people who share your reading loves and swap suggestions for fresh reads.  (Next month’s talk is on Urban Fantasy, an up and coming genre, on September 13th at 2pm.)

Genres can be a tidy way of understanding what you might expect overall from a story, a shorthand that there will be elements in this tale that speak to you as a reader. Genres, however, can sometimes draw artificial lines that people don’t cross.  I will admit there are genres I thought I didn’t read… until I did. Reading The Martian and Ready Player One taught me that I can find a compelling story in Sci-Fi, even though it wasn’t a place I spent much time. I’ve converted people who thought they didn’t like Romance with authors Courtney Milan, Julia Quinn and Eloisa James.

If you haven’t read all the classics, we don’t care. (We probably haven’t, either.) If you haven’t read anything but cereal boxes or FB statuses for a while, that’s cool. We’ve been there. We’d love to help you. Genre Book Club is a great way to meet authors and stories, and a nice way to meet your neighbor. Let your friendly LPL Book Squad member get you connected to a story that might enrich your life, a story that just might come from a section of the library you haven’t yet met.