Shelf Life

Finding pride in the stacks

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel…is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” — Ursula K. Le Guin For me, the public library has always been place of possibility and ...

Short Story Mixtape

I remember sitting on the mauve carpet of my bedroom in front of my boombox, patiently waiting with one finger poised above the tape deck's red RECORD button. As soon as the radio DJ finished their boring spiel and “my song” came on, I jammed that sucker down and silently congratulated ...

Whoa, we’re halfway there: Squad Goals progress post

If you’ve stopped by the Lawrence Public Library in the past few months, you may have noticed that the Book Squad has set up monthly rotating displays featuring potential reads for the [Squad Goals Reading Challenge][1], our inaugural reading challenge featuring a baker’s dozen of prompts ...

All the news that’s fit to print, and then some

The New York Times. The “paper of record” ([well, not really,][1] but commonly perceived as such). “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” The gold standard for crossword puzzle enthusiasts. (Source of the lion’s share of my information about national and global current events: If you ...

Summer Beach Reads 2017

Last year, [we put together a list][1] of some of our most anticipated summer releases to enjoy whether you’re vacationing in the Caribbean or in your own living room. This year, we have even more unconventional beach reads that will transport you to exotic locales and introduce you to ...

Local author’s new novel reimagines a classic

While taking literature classes through high school, many of us had to read canon staples from the likes of Dickens and Steinbeck, despite how jarring it can seem to approach something like "[Great Expectations][1]" when you’re fourteen years old. Emily Brontë’s "[Wuthering Heights][2]"— ...

Cookbooks for a vegan crash course

Deciding to eat a vegan diet is a lifestyle change that many people struggle with. It is often perceived to be “inconvenient” or somehow “unsatisfying,” and it does not need to be. Arguably, a nonvegan diet is far more inconvenient for animals, the planet and your health. While the ...

Infinite, unfathomable, nonstop: Rebecca Solnit’s imaginative cartography

Once upon a time, I stumbled across [a quiz that asked, “Where You At?”][1] Despite, or perhaps because of, its sloppy grammar, the question has stayed with me. My interest in natural and cultural history, and even my fascination with infrastructure, surely dates to this time, as evidenced ...

Filling in the gaps

As someone who works in the Children’s Department, I routinely feel bad for not knowing every book in our collection. We get so many new books each week, and between my obsession with romance and YA, there’s rarely a place for juvenile fiction in my "to be read" pile. When I feel like I ...

Catching feelings at Book Club Speed Dating

Finding the right read for your book club can feel a little bit like dating sometimes. You go through a bunch of duds before finding the right fit. Sometimes your friends are helpful but other times… not so much (looking at you, Friend Who Tried Setting Me Up With Someone Who Hates Cats). ...

Royal reading

If you’re like me and are still in a post-"Downton Abbey" funk brought on by the gut-wrenching series finale, you may have heard about the recent ITV and PBS Masterpiece program "[Victoria][1]," based on the [bestselling novel by Daisy Goodwin][2], which appears in many ways to serve as a ...

Branding is everything, even in Westerns

No, we’re not actually talking about cattle today, unfortunately — or marketing, for that matter. In the library context, a brand is a personal mark a reader puts on the inside cover of a book. Normally I wouldn’t advocate defacing the collection in this way, but there’s a pretty good ...

Five more questions with Kansas Poet Laureate Eric McHenry

The Lawrence Public Library has been a steadfast supporter of local writing talent, so much so that we’re curating a [local author section][1]. Given this, and April being National Poetry Month, it felt synergistic to check in with Eric McHenry, Poet Laureate of Kansas. In [2015][2], we asked ...

Audiobooks you should be listening to on Hoopla

Sure, that title has a clickbait quality to it, but I’m pretty serious and vocal about my love for all things Hoopla. I’ve sung its praises in the past (mostly because the graphic novel selection is pretty darn great), but only recently have I really delved into the audiobook ...

Five books that have stayed with me

When I saw the [Lawrence Public Library Book Squad’s first Squad Goal][1] (Re-read a book you haven’t read in more than 5 years), I was excited for an excuse to pick up one of the books that have been sitting untouched on my shelf for longer than I care to admit. It also gave me an ...

Three titles chosen purely for their covers

We’ve all heard the old adage "never judge a book by its cover." The only time I don’t think you should follow that advice is when it comes to actual books. On a purely literal level, when we’re talking about judging *actual books* by *their actual covers*, let’s face it: It’s ...

An ordinary life

I first met Amy Krouse Rosenthal while scrolling through social media. I tucked away her article “[You May Want to Marry My Husband][1]” for later, not yet realizing there wasn’t a later to be had. In fact, many people first met Amy through that New York Times article, which was published ...

Fun reading romps to kick off spring

Spring has sprung, and when I get joyously happy about the weather, I generally want to grab a fun read that’s perfect for sun-lounging. Here are three books — in three different genres — that are ideal for a sunlit afternoon filled with adventure and fun times. These aren't going to ...

Liquor and drugs: a venture into the writings of Irvine Welsh

"[Trainspotting][1]" was released in theaters in 1996, and I saw that movie approximately 72 times at Liberty Hall after it opened. (OK, it was probably closer to four times.) I was 20 years old at the time, and although I hadn’t exactly been sheltered in my upbringing, seeing those boys from ...

Mother Nature is one tough mama

Either I have a knack for meeting a lot of garden folk in this town, or Lawrence is just full of people who like to grow green things. It’s starkly apparent during this time of year-when the unseasonably warm days spark conversations of an early spring that evokes a gleam in the eyes of ...