Shelf Life

Reflecting on Langston Hughes in Lawrence

Langston Hughes made his mark at the forefront of Harlem Renaissance literature and became the first African-American writer to support himself fully with writing, a career spanning over four decades. His eloquent writing continues to resonate with readers because his words sing of universal ...

New reflections on environment and society in “Rising”

“What’s the story?” stream ecologist Jim Sedell constantly asked. I met Jim when the tides of change washed me to Oregon in the early ‘90s, and I was rather surprised when he appeared a couple of weeks ago, in a book. The book, called "Forest Under Story," is an artful collection of ...

‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ a thoroughly entertaining revenge tale

I’m a big "Bob’s Burgers" fan. It’s a top ten show for me. I own all the seasons (and the delightful soundtrack to boot). We quote it (and often sing it) almost daily at my household. Heck, this isn’t even the first time I’m writing about it.  An all-time great episode is the fifth ...

“Atlas of a Lost World”: a new read on old life across the world

The rains became unpredictable, societal chaos threatened, and so they walked. Nearly a thousand years later author Craig Childs also walked, trying to follow their slow migration from Mesa Verde to Chaco Canyon and on south to the Sierra Madre. "[House of Rain][1]," published a decade ago, is ...

Get into PBS’ ‘Great American Read’

> A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never > reads lives only one. > > —George R.R. Martin I’m going to report this fact, though it hurts me to do so: [In a recent Pew study][1], 24 percent of U.S. adults said they had not read a book in the last ...

Sound+Vision Sessions: a conversation with Heidi Lynne Gluck

June 22 marks the second installment of the new Lawrence Public Library event series, Sound+Vision Sessions. The event showcases local music artists whose material we have in our catalog in a family-friendly, all-ages atmosphere. This concert features the incredibly talented and esteemed ...

5 new young adult books to read for Pride Month

There are a number of ways to celebrate Pride Month, but the bookworm in me insists there's nothing like a good read. The young adult publishing industry has come a long way since my own teenage years when it comes to diverse and #OwnVoices titles, books written by authors who share a ...

Getting ready for summer reading with some oohs and aahs

Every year as schools wind down, the library winds up. Summer is just around the corner and the bulk of the Lawrence Public Library's Youth Services department went out into the wild — aka USD 497 — to promote the Summer Reading Program. (If you want to learn more about it, when it starts, ...

Frog and Toad’s laws of literary motion

In my years selecting children’s books for the library, I have often envied the mathematical certainty of the hard sciences. After all, when the Pythagorean theorem doesn’t work, it’s usually our own bad arithmetic at fault, and the Planck constant isn’t exactly wishy-washy. It’s a ...

Gifts from nature: creative inspiration and free art supplies

Now is the perfect time of year to spend time outdoors, and if you need an excuse to do so, gathering ideas and art supplies is a great one. It’s fun to keep your eyes open for treasures when you are on a hike, weeding your garden or just strolling through the neighborhood. I have always ...

Author J. Drew Lanham talks Kansas ahead of his visit to Lawrence

I’m not the only one who views J. Drew Lanham as a superhero of advocacy for the natural world — especially for greater participation among people of color as well as increased celebration of birds! Lawrence Public Library is partnering with community organizations for Lanham’s visit — ...

Verse novels to help you celebrate national poetry month

Like many people, I spent a fair amount of time in my teenage years writing poetry. Some of it was quite good (I even won some state-wide awards for it!), but most of it was pretty average. Eventually I stopped feeling the urge to write, and gradually poetry went from being a daily part of my ...

Making illustration look like a cinch: a few questions with Chris Monroe

Of all the picture books I’ve read to my kids, Chris Monroe’s have been some of the most fun, so I was pleased to hear a new Netflix streaming series based on her "[Monkey with a Tool Belt][1]" books is in the works. Monroe’s versatility rivals that of her plucky primate protagonist, ...

The library isn’t just for books anymore —Nintendo edition

When I think of the Lawrence Public Library, I think video games. Some people won’t like that, but I can’t help it. At the library, we have a killer game collection. And it just got killer-er with the addition of Nintendo Switch games. Nintendo’s little system that could is off to a ...

Distinguished “black birdwatcher” J. Drew Lanham to speak in Lawrence

The Lawrence Public Library is proud to announce that J. Drew Lanham is coming to speak in Lawrence on May 24. Lanham connects storytelling, wit and land ethics to advocate for greater participation in the natural world — especially among people of color. His presentation, "Range-Mapping: ...

Getting hygge

Late in 2016 I came across an article touting hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah”, as the newest happiness trend that could help everyone make sense of a tough year. After reading about the candle-lit, warm-blanket, fuzzy-socked Danish tradition of getting cozy, I deemed myself a hygge natural and ...

What am I waiting for? Books on my to-read shelf

I have been a terrible reader lately, and it is all because of the vile temptress of Netflix. For literal years, I’ve prided myself on being that pretentious person: not watching television, certainly not owning a television (goodness, no), not using the letters “T” and “V” in the ...

Choose kind at your library

February and March are Read Across Lawrence months at the Lawrence Public Library. The goal is to get everyone in the community on the same page by reading the same book at the same time. This year, we tried a grand experiment: one book for all ages. "[Wonder][1]" by RJ Palacio was the ...

Choose kind at your library

February and March are Read Across Lawrence months at the Lawrence Public Library. The goal is to get everyone in the community on the same page by reading the same book at the same time. This year, we tried a grand experiment: one book for all ages. "[Wonder][1]" by RJ Palacio was the ...

Another year, another Newbery Medal winner

[The American Library Association's Youth Media Awards][1] season is a heady time for librarians in youth services. We’re all trying to figure out what the best book will be while waging our own mental campaigns for our favorites by thinking very compelling arguments at the selection ...