If you go to the library, you can check out a book. So it makes sense that in a town like Lawrence, you can use the library to check out music from local bands as well.

That’s the idea behind The Lawrence Music Project, an initiative launched by the Lawrence Public Library this month. The website features tracks and entire albums by local bands, available for download by any card-carrying member of the library. Although the Lawrence music project features an archive of local bands, I Heart Local Music spent the last year working with currently active bands to feature their music on the project. “We’re excited about having the music available, but additionally really having that site more robust and really telling the story of local music” says Library Director Brad Allen, who envisions the site eventually adding audio interviews, photos, and video documentation. “People can come and find people who are working in music now and understanding the history of it.”

This new website comes as now surprise, considering the library’s track record with local music. In October they opened the doors to a free recording studio, fully stocked with instruments and gear, to the general public. In January, they added a highly-skilled engineer. Allen calls this a benefit to the local music community. “There are some people who are new to the scene,” he says. “This is a good starting point for those who are navigating. It’s been a lot of fun to see diversity in that space.”

You can check out the recording studio at the Lawrence Public Library at 7th and Vermont, and see all The Lawrence Music Project has to offer here.

Words and photos by Fally Afani