Library to launch Winter Reading program this week

University of Kansas junior Shih-Yen Pan, of Taiwan, gets comfortable with a book in one of the corner reading spaces at the Lawrence Public Library on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. The library's winter reading program begins Dec. 1.

The Lawrence Public Library has devised a potential solution to beating the winter doldrums this season — and it doesn’t necessarily involve reading.

(Though, this being the library, literary activities are always encouraged.)

“We wanted to motivate people to be just as active during the winter, or engage with their community during the winter, in a way that is not as common in the winter,” says Kate Gramlich, a readers’ services librarian and an organizer of this year’s second annual Winter Reading program.

Unlike the library’s popular Summer Reading, which asks kids, teens and adults to complete a certain number of books (also newspapers, magazines, etc.) or log hours spent reading, the cold-weather equivalent is focused more on beating cabin fever and riling people out of winter boredom.

The second annual Winter Reading program, this year dubbed “Blizzard Bingo Challenge,” is essentially a bingo card filled with literary and cultural experiences that, when completed, forms a “bingo.” Those who complete their bingo card and return it to the library between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31 have a shot at winning gift cards from downtown businesses.

Activities range from the fairly solitary “read a nonfiction book” and “listen to the Book Squad podcast” to the social, such as bringing a first-time visitor to the library, visiting the library’s documentary club and attending a book club meeting.

Others land somewhere in the middle, providing a personal connection but without forced socialization. One example: the Silent Book Club, slated for 4:45 to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 in the library auditorium, 707 Vermont St.

“We’re inviting people to come to the library and read with other people around, no talking necessary,” Gramlich says. “If you are hermitting or an introvert, you’re not forced to do any interactions you don’t want to do.”

Last year, Gramlich helped bring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamps to the library. This year, the library is supplying four tabletop lamps (the lights are specially designed to combat cold-weather depression) for in-house use and another four tablet-sized lamps visitors can check out and take home for up to 14 days.

Though completing a certain number of books isn’t the focus, Gramlich’s readers’ services department has put together a few wintry-themed recommendation lists (think “Long Books for Long Nights” and “Get the Shivers with These Spine-Tingling Reads”) for those in need of suggestions. You can check those out at

Participants can pick up bingo cards and informational booklets at any library desk starting Friday. For more information on Winter Reading, visit