With a new building came an explosion of services,
New ways for the library to be useful to the people of Lawrence. As the program of the library opening in 1972 said,
With the freedom available in the new building, many library services are offered for the first time to Lawrence patrons. Framed art reproductions may be checked out like books. The lobby area will feature changing displays of original art. Films and veiwing equipement are available, as are phonograph records and private listening areas.
The new library capitalized on "new ways of processing and storing information, such as films, microfiche, recordings and computer data systems." Typewriters and copy machines were readily available to patrons. The old system of handwritten circulation records was replaced with a photographic check-out system.
Yet for all this new technology...
The majority of the library’s work still rested on the physical page.
In the 70s and 80s, people relied heavily on a library’s reference department for any and all information. In this sense, the library remained unchanged from its origins.
In an oral history conducted for this project, Sherri Turner, current assistant director at the Lawrence Public Library who started work as a reference assistant in 1984, recalled the nature of reference work at the library before the days of the internet:
There are a lot of things that we looked up that people do themselves now. Just simple things like, ‘how do I contact a company?’ Without the internet that was a lot less easy to find back in those days. ‘Where do I find someone who makes a certain thing? Help me find this poem? Do you know what the lyrics to the Mr. Ed song are? I mean, some of them were a lot less serious some of them were serious. Lots of school reports, things like that. All over the place, though, really.
So the library continued to do its work, providing information no one else had access to, answering questions no one else had an answer for.
At this time also...
The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library organization was founded
Initially called the Carnegie Foundation, the Friends were dedicated to raising money for the library through book sales and other fundraising efforts. Throughout the history of the organization, the Friends have raised indispensable funds that have gone toward library progamming and overhead.