Library closes the book on successful fundraising campaign

The towering stack of books that has been growing in the lobby of the Lawrence Public Library has grown even taller than library officials had hoped.

Sunday afternoon, “The Wizard of Oz” became the final book added to the stack, which has acted as a progress chart for the $1 million the library sought to raise toward an expansion project. The library held a celebration to thank its donors.

“Every community that exists espouses the importance of education and children,” said Lawrence Mayor Aron Cromwell. “In the city of Lawrence, we put our money where our mouth is.”

In all, 287 donors helped the library exceed its $1 million goal by $88,000. The largest donation was for $100,000, and some of the smallest came from children, who donated about $297 in change via a box in the children’s section of the library. A few stickers and pencils somehow ended up in the box, too.

The money will supplement $18 million in funding already approved by voters through a city bond issue. The expansion plans call for the library to grow by about 20,000 square feet. Existing library space will be renovated and a new parking garage is in the cards, too.

Library officials also announced that NPR personality Susan Stamberg will be performing at the Lied Center March 13, with 100 percent of ticket sales benefiting the library.

“We wanted to usher in the next chapter of the library in a really special way,” said Kathleen Morgan, executive director of the Lawrence Public Library Foundation.

Stamberg, now a special correspondent for NPR, first came to Lawrence in the 1970s when she was the host of All Things Considered. She did a broadcast from local NPR affiliate KANU. Stamberg told library officials last week it was the first time NPR had ever done a broadcast from the road.

Tickets go on sale Monday at the Lied Center, and range from $25 to $50.