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Lawrence Public Library Celebrates Everyday Heroes: Centron Corporation’s Buck Newsom

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. The Summer Reading Program is in full swing at Lawrence Public Library. This year’s theme is “Every Hero Has a Story” and during June and July the library will celebrate Lawrence’s everyday heroes.

On Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to Liberty Hall to revisit Lawrence’s golden age of educational, tourism and etiquette films with former Centron Vice President John “Buck” Newsom and Centron Film Curator George Gibbs. Centron was a film company based out of Lawrence and founded in 1947. One of the most notable in its industry, the company specialized in industrial and education films. Centron’s Leo Beureman documentary was nominated for an Oscar in 1969.

“I lie and I exaggerate, so it ought to be an interesting evening,” said Newsom, now 96 years old and the longest tenured Centron employee living in Lawrence. After retiring from the Navy, Newsom joined Centron in 1964 and worked for the company until 1985. While sales were his official duty, Newsom contends that his most important job at Centron was keeping all the awards on the wall lined up in perfect order. “I got paid pretty well for that,” he said.

George Gibbs retired in 2015 after serving 25 years at KU Libraries, including 13 years as the Music Librarian. He is an expert on the Centron film collection held at KU’s Spencer Research Library. For his sabbatical project in 2007, Gibbs viewed all 1000+ Centron films produced in Lawrence from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. He meticulously cataloged information about each film and built an extensive database for the library.

Gibbs and Newsom will provide commentary on a selection of Centron films, including the Leo Beureman documentary. The event is presented in partnership with KU Libraries. It is an official pre-fest event of the Free State Festival and is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit


Other upcoming “Everyday Hero” programs at Lawrence Public Library:

Our Fitness Hero: Don “Red Dog” Gardner

Sunday June 7 at 2 p.m. | Library Auditorium


Our Small Business Hero: Kate Von Achen

Sunday, June 21 at 2 p.m. | Library Auditorium


Our History Hero: Katie Armitage

Sunday, July 12 at 2 p.m. | Library Auditorium


Unsung Heroes: Marla Jackson on Maria Rodgers Martin

Sunday, July 19 at 2 p.m. | Library Auditorium

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