Newton Public Library’s 2023 Summer Reading Program officially kicks off June 1 and continues through the end of July. The library will present more than 100 youth, teen and adult programs this summer, including StoryTimes, performances, science programs, teen events, book clubs, lectures and talks.
This summer’s nationwide theme is “All Together Now,” and the focus is on community and kindness.
“We sat down as a staff to talk about how to personalize the theme and connect it with the Newton community,” said Sam Jack, adult services librarian. “One idea that emerged was to focus on murals. Over the last few years, many new murals have been created around town, and they express a lot of pride and unity.”
Mural artist Naomi Kuhn will work with children ages 5 to 9 to create a temporary mural in the library. Kids are invited to a mural design session, 9-11 a.m. on Thursday, June 1, to kick off the process. Participants will receive a free copy of “Maybe Something Beautiful,” by F. Isabel Ortiz, and will have the first opportunity to register for subsequent painting sessions, which will be held 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays, June 8 to July 20.
Kids are also invited to pick up a 5-by-7-inch canvas and complete a self-portrait for NPL’s “Tiny Portrait Gallery.” Kids can create portraits on their own, or attend a watercolor session with Susan Bartel (3-4 p.m. June 7, registration required) or a freeform session (3-4 p.m. June 24, no registration needed.)
Adult Summer Reading program includes a talk on Kansas murals by artist Dave Loewenstein, 7 p.m. June 5, with support from Humanities Kansas. Loewenstein is best known to Newtonians as the artist behind “The Imagineers,” a large mural located by the former Dillons on Main Street.
Finally, in partnership with Newton Murals & Arts Project, the library will present mural walking tours, starting at 7 p.m. on July 10 and 13. Both walks will set out from the library and will follow identical routes.
Here are some more highlights of summer 2023. Find a full run-down at www.newtonplks.org/SRP2023.
• Reading Challenges: Participants of all ages can sign up for Summer Reading Challenges and win prizes.
Youth SRP participants, ages birth through 9, can pick up reading challenge sheets and logs at the children’s desk. Everyone who completes their challenge sheets will earn a family pass to the end-of-summer pool party at the Newton Municipal Pool, 6-8 p.m. July 29.
Teen SRP participants, ages 10 to 18, can download the Reader Zone app to track their reading. Those who log 800 minutes of reading will score a ticket to the end-of-summer pool party, and those who go the extra mile and read 1,000 minutes will be invited to a pizza party at the library.
Adult SRP participants can pick up reading-log bookmarks at the library. Return a completed bookmark each week and be entered to win gift cards from local businesses. At the end of the summer, all participants will be entered in a grand prize drawing for a Kobo Nia eReader with built-in access to NPL’s e-book collection.
• Youth Guest Performers: This year’s lineup of free, all-ages guest performances includes Will Parker and the Make Believe Band, juggling and tricks with Flying Debris, wacky experiments with Mad Science, and family folk music with Doug and Jude Krehbiel.
• StoryTime and More: Summer StoryTimes start June 5, with weekly sessions for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. On Mondays from 7 to 7:45, the library will host family reading “picnics” on the library lawn, with themed books, crafts and activities to enjoy together.
For kids ages 6-9, Elementary Explorers combines art and science education, with weekly activities such as garbage sculptures, Rube Goldberg machines and salt dough fossils. These classes filled up last summer, so this year, the library has added a second section. Contact the library to sign up for sessions, Tuesdays at 9 or 11 a.m., June 6 through July 25.
• Teen Events: GameZone continues this summer. Youth ages 10-18 can head to the library for crafts, board games and video games, Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Teens can also sign up for hands-on painting and computer programming workshops, and participate in book clubs and free movie screenings.
• MIT and Stanford Spokes: Engineering students from MIT and Stanford are biking across the United States to offer science and math workshops, including workshops at the library. The dates are still being pinned down, but youth ages 10-18 are invited to contact the library and sign up if interested.
• Special Events: Special events for adult and teen audiences include a talk on Kansas mushrooms by Sherry Kay and Caleb Morse; “Flour Power: The History of the Tortilla,” a Humanities Kansas talk by Gene Chávez; the aforementioned mural events; photography presentations; movie screenings; book clubs; crafting events; and more.