Cari Cusick named Newton Public Library’s next director

Cari Cusick, Ph.D.

The Newton Public Library Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Cari Cusick, Ph.D., has been named as the Library’s next director. Cusick was unanimously chosen from a field of 19 applicants.

“She has the experience and educational background to take Newton Public Library into the future,” NPL board president Ann Adrian said. “She is a passionate advocate for libraries and will continue the legacy of service and community engagement that NPL has had under retiring director Marianne Eichelberger.”

Cusick served as director of Hesston Public Library from 2009 to 2013, guiding Hesston through the construction and opening of a new library building. She comes to Newton at a similar moment: NPL is currently in the “quiet phase” of a capital campaign, with the goal of funding a new library to be built in Military Park.

“I would say it is an exciting new era for the library and the community, because it is imperative that the library be housed in an accessible, functional, appealing space,” Cusick said. “But this is more than just a building project. It’s an opportunity to really put the library front and center, to engage with citizens about why the library matters, and to energize the community around the exciting opportunities that a new library will bring.”

Cusick received her doctorate in library and information management from Emporia State University this May. Her research focused on how community characteristics, and decisions about library services, relate to outcomes such as funding and usage.

“My decision to earn my Ph.D. was really driven by the idea that management and leadership decisions should, as much as possible, be driven by research-based best practices. That’s a big part of my philosophy as a librarian,” Cusick said.

Cusick, her husband Micah, and their daughters, Emma and Bess, are moving back to Newton after several years in southeast Kansas. Cusick’s official first day as library director will be Monday, Dec. 28.

“I am very excited to be back in Newton,” Cusick said. “I think public libraries are vital community institutions, and it’s fun to be a part of that. Marianne left a strong, long-term legacy, and the library has a fantastic staff that is doing wonderful things to meet the needs of the community, particularly in this COVID era. I’m excited to bring my experiences and my strengths into that mix.”

Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday and Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.newtonplks.org, email library@newtonplks.org, or call NPL at 316-283-2890.