Lawrence Public Library’s last celebration of summer coming up

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An upcoming lawn party at the Lawrence Public Library will celebrate summer readers.

Set for 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 on the LPL lawn, the party will include a singalong with musician Benjamin Cartel, an inflatable game sponsored by Kansas Athletics, free cotton candy (while supplies last) and a showing of “Lilo and Stitch,” which starts at dusk. 

More than 3,200 people have completed the summer reading program this year, logging more than 700,000 minutes. 

Children’s librarian Jenny Cook is excited to honor these readers as well as punctuate the end of summer and the start of school with the annual party on the lawn.  

“I like seeing our community all come together,” she said. “It’s a great time to see friends, enjoy time outside, listen to music and all have a great, relaxing time together.” 

Another reason Cook is excited for the Last Bash is because it will feature a fundraiser organized by the Kids’ Action Club, a group of kids ages 8-12 who meet monthly. 

“They love to run the cash register, so that will be a highlight as well,” Cook said.

KAC emphasizes social outreach, providing kids an opportunity to identify unmet community needs and brainstorm ways to help. Every year, KAC does a fundraiser for a social cause. Last year, the group raised money for Ukraine. This year, members of KAC chose the Lawrence Humane Society as its benefactor.

Roman Osbern, KAC president, created artwork to pay tribute to his two dogs, Gary, who died in 2014, and Milton, who died recently. 

“I did an art piece that is about my dogs who have passed away and it’s kind of just a memorial to them,” Roman, 10, said. “It’s kind of like, based on the humane society, because it’s of my dogs.”

Serving as the KAC president, Roman has been able to contribute positively to the community since he joined, he said. He participated in a clothing drive for unhoused people and organized a trash pickup day. For the Last Bash fundraiser, he is also baking angel food cupcakes. 

“It’s fun because we get to like, help people out and help the earth out,” he said. “I like helping people … so it’s just cool that there’s a club that we can do that.” 

The kids have put in lots of time and effort to make the event a success, Cook said. 

“The group is so enthusiastic,” Cook said. “They were excited to share the pieces they made for the art auction, sign up for the bake sale, and plan the event with lots of teamwork. They are full of great ideas and we’re lucky to have these amazing, caring kids in Lawrence.”

Cook hopes that people will come see the kids’ creations firsthand at the fundraiser during the Last Bash.  

“The Kids’ Action Club has worked hard on their fundraiser and would love Lawrence’s support to help the animals in our community,” Cook said. 

A silent auction runs from Thursday, Aug. 10 through Friday, Aug. 18 in the library atrium.

The finale for the silent auction will be an art reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 in the auditorium, and it will feature music performed by KAC members. Bidding closes at 7:30 p.m. 

Art prints and baked goods will be sold from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 during the Last Bash. 

People who can’t attend the fundraiser can donate online without buying anything. 

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Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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