Whether the day is too hot or too rainy, or even perfectly nice, the Lawrence Public Library has something to interest anyone and everyone. From story time for the kids up through the movie rentals and weekly movie series - all free - here is what you need to know.
Sure, the library is full of books, but there is a lot more going on than can be found within their pages. First of all, everything is free. There is no charge to get a library card, no charge to surf the Internet, no charge to check out any book and no charge to rent a movie.
Yes, that is correct: free movie rentals.
An impressive selection of video tapes and DVDs is made even better considering that the late fee is a mere 10 cents a day (although there is a replacement fee if the item is lost or damaged).
The library shows movies, too. Every Friday night this month pairs a classic Laurel and Hardy short with one of their full-length features. The show starts at 7 p.m., and is also free. Liberty Hall even donates a generous supply of popcorn each week.
To encourage reading in the community, the Lawrence Public Library offers several programs geared not only toward reading, but also toward getting the readers to interact.
The Adult Summer Reading Program requires only four books - read at your own pace. The guidelines are simple: one award-winning book, one non-fiction biography and one either by an international author or set in another country. The last book is any of your choice.
The incentive for completing all four is a package of discounts from area businesses, including Bucky's, Liberty Hall and Therapy Works, among others. All completed entries are also eligible for Wheatfields Bakery certificates and tickets to upcoming Lied Center shows.
A similar program, called the Winner's Circle, is in place for anyone in grades six through twelve - and for younger kids, too.
Other teen programs include a weekly gathering every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Currently, the group is preparing for a fashion show.
Perhaps some of the best features on the library's schedule are the many Storytimes throughout the week for kids of all ages. The sessions encourage literacy and education. They also give kids something to do during the day, giving parents a break.
"Books and Babies" meets Wednesday morning for infants aged eight through 24 months. The program, presented by library employee Joyce Steiner, includes songs and stories.
Children a little older can go to two presentations each week: Tuesday and Friday. Sessions for toddlers, run by Jane Johnston, and for anyone over three years old, run by Linda Clay and Olga Songg-Stratton, take place at 10:30 a.m.
Kids aged 8-12 can gather for the "Bookworms Unite!" club each Monday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. While the summer session is full, registration for the next session is just around the corner. Inquire at the Children's Desk.
To get the whole family together for a good story, come to the library the first Sunday each month. The Family Storytime begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.
Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., the library brings in special guests ranging from purely educational to downright fun. These shows regularly draw crowds of upwards of 200 people each week.
This past week saw a visit by the New Dawn Native Dancers, a local group of Native Americans who are keeping their traditions alive for new generations. They practice every week at Haskell University, and represent tribes from across the country. See their performance in our video gallery.
The library's services are not limited to what is within their walls. Every Thursday the Book Van makes a tour of area parks. Anyone with a library card can check out the materials on hand, or place an order for delivery the following week. The driver even reads a story for the kids at each stop.
The six different stops are the parks at Quail Run (9 a.m.), Centennial (10 a.m.), Deerfield (11 a.m.), South Park (1 p.m.), Holcom (1:45 p.m.) and Prarie Park (2:45 p.m.).
New this year are programs for senior citizens. A series of workshops, lectures, exhibits and performances designed to encourage seniors to share their life stories. The program is available at the library, Babcock Place and the Senior Center. Go to the Lawrence Public Library's website for details and a full schedule.
Next week: Clinton State Park - swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, camping and even jet ski rentals.