The Expanded Carnegie (1937-1972)
The library board elected architect Thomas Larrick to design the expansion and repairs on the Carnegie building. Construction began on January 1937, and for eight months the library operated out of temporary quarters in the Ecke building, on 945 Massachusetts Street.
On August 19, 1937, the library was ready to reopen.
The back of the building, previously rounded, had been squared off and furnished with large windows to provide more space and natural light. The heating, cooling, and lighting systems were remodeled to meet modern standards. The entire basement was renovated, and countless other improvements were made to improve the comfort and convenience of the library.
The Lawrence Journal-World reported on the eagerness of Lawrencians to see the expanded library. The modifications gave the library a new feeling of lightness and openness: "The most universal remark concerned the spaciousness of the main room where the circulation desk is located...Many persons observed how much lighter the rooms were. This is due partly to the new window space and partly to the paint which has more yellow in it than the previous covering."
Librarians too were overyjoyed with the new space. In her 1937 annual report, Lillian Constant describes vividly the delights of the expanded library:
The improvement in our building has given the staff much enjoyment. The ability to move around the aisles without jostling, finding books readily, placing them on the shelves without moving a whole section to find room for one more has been a new and comfortable experience. We like the floor covering. It is a foot saver. We like the even temperature and fine ventilation and the clean house, the day light among the books and at the desk and the new stack lights at night.
We like the separate offices with their many conveniences, the filing cabinets, tables, chairs, noiseless typewriter and especially the book life which has already hauled more than 20,000 books.
Then there is the splendid basement with the newspaper room, large work room, furnace room splendidly equipped and the room for the janitor.
The children and their library are very enthusiastic over their lovely room, the floor covering, lights, new book shelves and the librarian's modern and convenient desk. The little tots like their corner eight he low table, and shelved filled with attractive books. The new entrance that is their very own is a great improvement and they like it.
Patrons have expressed themselves as being pleased and think the public money has been well invested in providing this modern and efficien plant. Several out of town visitors have expressed surprise and have said that Lawrence surpasses many cities of much larger population in library facilities.
The citizens of Lawrence owe much to the City council and to the Library Board for giving so freely of their time and advice in planning and building.
I want to thank the Board for myself and staff for the splendid cooperation all during the year. We should surely be able with the added facilities to give the best service we have ever given and it is our purpose to do this.