Generous donors have given Lawrence residents even more reason to be excited about the opening of their new, expanded public library.
On Monday, it was announced that the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation had donated $250,000 to create an annual speakers’ series that will bring notable authors to Lawrence. Library staff members already do a great job of programing with authors and books of local and regional interest, but the new fund will allow them to expand their efforts to include high-profile authors who command significant speaking fees.
Speaking events like the one last April that featured two authors of books on John Brown — Kansas University’s Jonathan Earle and author Tony Horwitz— draw big crowds and enthusiastic support from the community. The Beach gift will help the library bring additional prestigious authors to the community and make the new library a focal point of such activity.
The Beaches originally are from Hays, but made Lawrence their second home. Ross Beach, who died in 2010, was chairman of Douglas County Bank, and Marianna Beach continues to live in Lawrence. Their gift to the library is just one way this couple’s legacy will live on in the community. Carrie Edwards, the Beaches granddaughter and executive secretary of their foundation, said her grandparents strongly believed in the value of libraries.
The role of libraries in their communities obviously is changing, but Lawrence already has shown itself as a community that’s interested in reading and good writing. Thanks to the Beach Foundation for helping promote that interest for future generations.