Books, resources, events and more!
When I was younger, my mom would take my siblings, cousins, and me to our hometown public library. On the weekends, we would go to the free movie screenings in the library basement and enjoy the freshly popped popcorn. On weekdays, after school, we would get hour-long passes to use the computers and attempt to pass all of the Poptropica islands (after finishing our school work, of course). I continued to go throughout middle and high school, volunteering as a Teen Advisory Group member to encourage young people to come to the library. Aside from my home and school, this was the place I would spend most of my time at.
In short, the library was a safe space for me. It was where I spent many hours during my gap year studying for the LSAT and where I booked a meeting room in the basement to take it. It was no surprise then that I found myself at the Lawrence Public Library (LPL) during my first week of being in Lawrence. Although there is a common misconception that a library’s sole function is lending out books, they offer so much more, and I hope I can encourage you all to check out the LPL as well as your local public libraries.
Check out books and more
Sure, libraries aren’t all about the books, but they are a big part of what they provide. But did you know you can also check out audio and virtual copies of books on your phone? Using the Libby app, insert your library card number and access books straight from your phone!
Wait, you don’t have a library card? Well, this is awkward… but no worries! Getting a library card is easy and literally takes five minutes of your day. LPL has made an online application that is simple to fill out and submit to make it easier. Once you have it submitted, you can head straight over to pick up your card! Alternatively, you can come to the library and talk to the front desk staff, who will gladly help you. On both occasions, you will have to bring a valid photo ID and proof of address, and there you have it: a wonderful, glorious library card.
Not only will you be able to get books from the library, but you also get access to a wide variety of magazines, newspapers and even locally-made zines. If you own a CD player, you can check out movies/TV shows/anime and music albums. And, if like most people, you don’t own one, the LPL digital library offers access to a ton of these resources online.
Access to resources
As someone with a smaller laptop, I find the tiny screen annoying to use, especially when outlining and trying to reference class slides, so I often find myself at the library using their desktops. These desktops have been a lifesaver, making outlining and researching much more manageable. If you have a library card, you can simply log in using your library card number, but even if you don’t, staff at the computer lab would be happy to provide you with a guest login.
Right next to the computer lab, you can also find the SOUND+VISION Studio, a recording and videocast studio. It’s a free resource and can be accessed if you are 18 years or older and—say it with me— have a library card. So, if you’ve been thinking of starting a podcast, recording a song or recording and editing a YouTube video for your law school vlog, you can use the SOUND+ VISION Studio.
Finally, the library hosts many free events for the public to attend. In the past, I’ve attended an Indigenous Law Panel where local Indigenous leaders discussed the violence Indigenous communities experience, a Japan Foundation Film Series that hosted three movie screenings with conversations of the films following the screening, and a Spanish-language conversation table led by graduate students from KU. To look at what upcoming events are happening at the library, check out this calendar!
I can’t discuss all the reasons why you should visit the Lawrence Public Library (or any public library, for that matter) in this blog without making this post impossibly long. Still, if I have piqued your interest, I encourage you to visit their website to learn about all the available resources and services. Although it is easy for many of us, especially recent college graduates, to stay in the ‘KU bubble’ and be ignorant of the community around us, I think it’s essential to actively engage with and immerse ourselves in the Lawrence community. Visiting the library may be one small step in doing so, but I hope this encourages you to come to the library and leave campus for a little bit to enjoy the free and wonderful resources it offers.
– Rossiel Reyes Enriquez is a 1L KU Law Student Ambassador from Great Bend, Kansas