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Circulating Library

Now we arrive at the true beginning,

as promised, in 1865, when J.S. Boughton purchased $150 dollars worth of books and decided to open a circulating library in Hartman’s building (what is now 733 Massachusetts Street). On April 2, The Daily Kansas Tribune announced the opening of Boughton's circulating library that evening. 

"It will be a worthy enterprise," the article said, "and should receive the encouragement and support of every good citizen." 

Advertisement for J.S. Boughton's Circulating Library, 1866
1. Lawrencians were avid, enthusiastic readers, eager to borrow any book they could get their hands on (the selection at Boughton's library cannot have been wide), as long as it gave them a chance to spend some time with the written word.
2. J.S. Boughton was vastly underequipped to singlehandedly meet the reading needs of this bookthirsty hoarde.

Boughton knew this all too well, and during the course of the year that the library was under his sole management, he tried several times without success to organize a library association to undertake the work of the library. 

Finally in 1866, less than a year after opening his library, Boughton succeeded...

And the Lawrence Library Association was born.