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KU grad hired as Lawrence Public Library’s new director

March 8, 2012, 1:39 p.m. Updated March 8, 2012, 5:06 p.m.


A branch manager of a suburban Seattle library, who stresses how the library of the future should become a center of creativity, will become the new director of the Lawrence Public Library.

Brad Allen, branch manager and programming coordinator for Everett Public Library in Everett, Wash., has been hired by the Lawrence Public Library board to serve as the library’s director. Allen will take over as construction work is set to begin on a $19 million expansion of the downtown library.

“I’m so excited the community is behind moving the library into the future,” Allen said Thursday. “I want to do everything from having great story times, to having every book every kid wants to having the best technology we can.”

Allen was in Lawrence in late February to interview for the position and delivered a public presentation about how the library could add “content creation stations” and other technology to foster creativity.

“I see Lawrence as a community that likes to create things, and I think the library ought to be there to help,” Allen said at the time.

Allen, 37, is a Topeka native who was the adult services supervisor for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library before taking his job in Everett in 2010. He has his undergraduate degree from Kansas University, and a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois and a master’s in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin.

Library board chairwoman Deborah Thompson said Allen has the library management experience and leadership skills to guide the upcoming library expansion.

“The board was impressed with his responses during the interview and his public presentations, and looks forward to working with him,” Thompson said.

Allen will begin his duties on May 1. His salary will be $88,000 per year. Allen replaces Bruce Flanders, who retired and then took a job with an area library in October.


KrampusLawrence 6 years, 2 months ago

The LJ World is a locally owned newspaper that reports on local news. The Lawrence Library is a significant local institution. Local institution = local news.

guppypunkhead 6 years, 2 months ago

Congrats to Brad! Speaking as a former employee of Mr. Allen, I know he will do a great job at LPL!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 2 months ago

Sounds more like a 40K/yr a job to me, but then again, it is funded with tax dollars so they get more

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

He has two graduate degrees and you think he's only worth 40K a year??? We'll have to start calling you Scrooge.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 2 months ago

How much skill does it really take to manage a library? I'll bet very, very little. 40K is pushing it.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

A lot more skill than required to post a comment on these boards.

overthemoon 6 years, 2 months ago

I wish there was a gentle way to point out that one does not come across as very bright with such comments.

friendlyjhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

This is breaking news when KU BB just won their game? Nobody cares who the new head of the Library is.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Why should the KU win be "breaking news?" Number one, it was expected. And number two, anyone interested in the game was aware of the eventual outcome before the final horn sounded.

daniel_chege 6 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations Brad Allen for being the new Lawrence Public Library Director, and as a KU graduate yourself shows the KU students that SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT. All the best of success and may God continue to bless you my friend. - Daniel Chege

hedshrinker 6 years, 2 months ago

I guess I shouldn't be surprised in the anti-intellectual strain of Kansans that disparage the importance of a public library and the need for a high level of professional leadership. But the animosity expressed in some of the above comments just floors me. I am in the library pretty much every week and I never see it empty. I love the art exhibits, frequent guest speakers on all manner of topics, book groups, on-line reserve and self-check process for when I'm in a hurry, computer access, seeing families showing kids from an early age the world thru books, etc. During the financial downturn, public library use has burgeoned as people want to be transported thru reading even when they can't purchase things for their own libraries. Professional librarians are highly educated, skilled people who facilitate all manner of learning and I am proud to count many as personal friends. Know that the vocal small-mindedness of some commentators is not shared by many.

hedshrinker 6 years, 2 months ago

At a recent very well-attended fundraiser for the LPL by NPR commentator Nancy Pearl, we were touched by a story she told about growing up in an unhappy family in Detroit and how hanging out daily in her local public library , surrounded by books that opened another happier world to her and befriended by staff librarians became her sanctuary and led her to her life's work. It was a theme that reverberated for many present (unhappy family or not), how we loved growing up in our local versions of the Carnegie libraries...remember the glass floors in the stacks on the mezanine? Again, congrats to the new leader and KU grad to boot, as the LPL moves the community forward.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

I wish him well. But I hope that branch libraries are in the future, whether or not he thinks so. Unless you want the library only to be used by middle and upper-class people, those who have time to come in (drive in usually) to the library.

Reuben Turner 6 years, 2 months ago

well i be... hopefully he will do a good job

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