Dottie, the Lawrence Public Library’s new bookmobile, begins making stops around Lawrence

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

Trevin Garcia, youth services outreach assistant, and Ruth Hite, accounts assistant, look at books with preschoolers from the Ballard Center on Sept. 2, 2022, outside Dottie, the Lawrence Public Library's new bookmobile.

On a recent afternoon, a class of preschoolers walked single file down the sidewalk leading to the park, but instead headed right for the adjacent parking lot. Under the awning of a colorfully decorated box truck, were shelves of books inviting the kids to read.

After decades without a bookmobile, the Lawrence Public Library recently debuted “Dottie,” allowing residents to check out books, movies and learn about library programming from the park, the grocery story or the food pantry. On Friday afternoon, the preschoolers, who attend the Ballard Center in North Lawrence, benefited from a grant program that provides free children’s’ books, and they each walked away with a book they don’t have to worry about returning.

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

“Dottie,” the Lawrence Public Library’s new bookmobile is pictured in front of the library, 707 Vermont St.

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

Kristin Soper, the outreach and events coordinator for the Lawrence Public Library, readies “Dottie,” the library’s new bookmobile, after arriving at a park on Sept. 2, 2022. Ruth Hite, accounts assistant, is seated in the walk-up window.

Kristin Soper, the library’s outreach and events coordinator, said the library brings Dottie, the library’s outreach truck, to locations farther away from the library, including areas where there are young families with low or moderate income. She said the idea is make the library more accessible.

“A lot of it is just we’re trying to target people who may have transportation issues and they can’t get to the library,” Soper said.

Soper said Dottie launched late last month and the hope is to do a couple of stops each day, Tuesday through Saturday. Selections include books and movies for both children and adults, and stops include the Prairie Park Nature Center, Bert Nash Transitions, Quail Run Elementary, the Sunrise Project, and Checkers, Dillons and Hy-Vee grocery stores. She said Dottie also coordinates with Just Food’s mobile food pantry, making stops at Starbucks on 23rd Street and Dad Perry Park.

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

Preschool children look at books they selected from “Dottie,” the Lawrence Public Library’s new bookmobile, on Sept. 2, 2022.

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

Preschooler Harper Cable looks at stickers and a bookmark she received during a class visit to “Dottie,” the Lawrence Public Library’s new bookmobile.

As the Journal-World reported in Aug. 2021, the bookmobile was made possible through donations from the library’s foundation, the LPL Friends & Foundation, and the help of a University of Kansas architecture class. KU architecture professor Nils Gore and his students designed and built the bookmobile, which includes a convertible side awning and shelves that pull down for easier browsing. At the time, the book mobile was supposed to roll out in the fall of last year, but Soper said supply-chain issues meant the library had to wait months for a key piece needed for the function of the side awning.

The library finally was able to have a ribbon cutting for Dottie on Aug. 20, and it soon began making stops. A full schedule of stops is available on the library’s website at

photo by: Rochelle Valverde

Jha’via Fannin holds up books she picked out from “Dottie,” the Lawrence Public Library’s new bookmobile, on Sept. 2, 2022.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.