Lawrence library to launch summer reading program with lawn party

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The Lawrence Public Library encourages community members to attend free events this summer aimed at promoting a love for reading, including a lawn party that’ll launch an annual reading challenge for all ages.

This year’s summer reading program’s theme, “Adventure Begins at Your Library / La aventura comienza en tu biblioteca,” implores everyone to celebrate Lawrence and literacy by “camping out to read” at the library, according to a post on the library’s website. 

“Summer is the perfect time to embark on a reading adventure,” Karen Allen, the library’s public services manager said in the post.

“Whether you’re a young reader discovering the magic of books, a student reading for fun and to keep their skills sharp, or an adult taking in some beach reads, everyone can join the adventure. With each page turned, we move closer to creating a community of passionate readers who understand the joy and importance of literacy.”

The library’s goal this year is for 4,500 people to complete the Summer Reading Challenge. 

Participants pick one of two challenges: to read 10 books or log 30 hours of reading. The number of books can be logged with the Beanstack app or by using a paper log. 

Everyone who finishes will earn prizes from various community businesses and organizations — such as Royal Crest Lanes, Raising Cane’s and Squishingtons — and entry into the grand prize raffles. Finishers can pick up their prizes at the library beginning Monday, June 10. The pool of grand prizes include passes to Worlds of Fun, a skateboard from River Rat Skate Shop and more.

For details on the challenge and to register to join, visit the Summer Reading Challenge page on the library’s website,

The summer reading program will begin Wednesday, May 22 and last through Saturday, Aug. 17.

A party will kick off the Summer Reading Challenge. Free Eileen’s Colossal Cookies cookies and beer available for purchase from Free State Beer Company will be offered as well as live music from local band Soundwave and inflatables brought by the University of Kansas Athletics.

The kickoff party is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23 on the library lawn at 707 Vermont St. in downtown Lawrence. It’s free to attend, as are all summer reading program events.  

Additional events this summer include a city-wide scavenger hunt, the annual How-To Festival, the library’s first-ever Multicultural Fair, and a party with a movie and music to celebrate a decade since the library building was renovated.

Executive Director Brad Allen said this year’s summer reading program theme is fitting as this year marks 10 years since the library was transformed. He said he’s been honored to lead the library for 12 years “alongside informed and passionate staff” and is looking forward to another 10.

“Adventure holds different meaning from person-to-person — a first grader reading a new genre and digging it, a young adult applying for a job in a new field and landing it, someone struggling to make ends meet getting connected to the resources they need to even start thinking on what ‘adventure’ can look like beyond barriers,” Allen said in the post. “That begins — and continues — at the library. Just ask someone at our desks for help.”

Learn more about the summer reading program on the library’s website,

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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