Summer Reading Program 2023

Summer Reading Program officially kicks off June 1, and continues through July 29! Read on to learn more about reading challenges, events, and programs for children, teens and adults.

Jump to Youth Summer Reading Program (ages 0 to 9)

Jump to Teen Summer Reading Program (ages 10-18)

Jump to Adult Summer Reading Program

Youth Summer Reading Program

Reading Challenge!

Registration for the Summer Reading Challenge begins May 15. Pick up a reading challenge sheet and reading log at the children’s desk to record your goals and progress.

Everyone who completes their Challenge Sheets by Saturday, July 29, will earn a family pass to the End-of-Summer Pool Party at the Newton Municipal Pool on July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m.!

Create Together!

Children ages 5-9 have the opportunity to contribute to two community art projects!

Children’s Mural Project (ages 5-9)

Design and paint a (temporary) mural that celebrates our community!  The mural is a 2-part process:

Mural Design Session, 9-11 a.m. June 1:  Kick off the summer by helping create a community mural!  Come meet our mural artist, learn about the vision, design and painting process, and contribute an image that will become part of the mural! No registration required.

Families who participate in design have priority in registering for painting sessions and will also receive a copy of Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Ortiz (while supplies last).

Mural Painting Sessions:

1-3 p.m. Thursdays: June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 13.

Registration is required for each painting session; contact the library to sign up.

“We’re Better, All Together,” Tiny Portrait Gallery

Children can pick up a 5×7 canvas to complete a self-portrait for our tiny portrait gallery.  Use markers, acrylic paint or collage to make your own portrait at home.  If your child would like more guidance and access to supplies, you can sign up for a Self-Portrait Session.

Watercolors with Susan Bartel, 3-4 p.m. June 7: Try some fun watercolor techniques while painting “portraits” of your hands. For children ages 5-9. Registration required.

Choose Your Own Style, 3-4 p.m. June 24: We’ll offer supplies and several portrait styles to choose from, or just create your own style! Come and go, no registration required.

Elementary Explorers (Ages 5-9)

Explore together with these free science and art classes, Tuesdays at 9 a.m. OR 11 a.m.!

Registration required. The same session is offered twice each Tuesday, so register for your preferred timeslot. Call 316-283-2890 or email to sign up.

June 6: Fingerprint art and science

June 13: Garbage sculptures

June 20: Rube Goldberg “simple machines”

June 27: Cat grass experiment

July 4: Library closed

July 11: Investigating ecosystems

July 18: Engineering with sticks and clips

July 25: Salt dough trace fossils

Guest Performers (for all ages)

June 14, 3-4 p.m.: Music with Will Parker

June 28, 3-4 p.m.: Flying Debris

July 12, 3-4 p.m.: Mad Science

July 24, 7-8 p.m.: Family Folk Music with Doug & Jude Krehbiel

All-Ages Crafternoons

On Saturday, June 10, at 2 p.m., decorate Kindness Rocks! Prior registration required to ensure we have enough materials. Email, call 316-283-2890 or stop by the library to sign up.

On Saturday, July 8, at 2 p.m., have Fun with Tie Dye! Bring your own white or light-colored clothing items to dye, or we will provide a small item such as a tea towel or pair of socks. Prior registration required to ensure we have enough materials. Email, call 316-283-2890 or stop by the library to sign up.

Summer StoryTimes and Reading Picnics, June 5-July 27

StoryTimes at NPL feature songs, games, crafts, dancing, and, of course, stories! Pre-registration not required.

Baby (0-18 months): Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.

Toddler (18-36 months): Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.

Preschool (3-5 years): Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.

On Mondays from 7 to 7:45 p.m., join us for all-ages Reading Picnics. Grab some books and a blanket to read on the library lawn! Each week, we’ll have themed books, crafts and activities to enjoy together. For all ages.

Teen Summer Reading Program (ages 10-18)

The Teen Summer Kickoff Party will be Thursday, May 25, 6:30-8 p.m. Come for games, snacks, drinks and a painting craft activity.

Reading Challenge

Track your reading with Reader Zone to get weekly rewards!

Those who log 800 minutes of reading (audiobook listening counts!) will score a free ticket to the end-of-summer pool party, July 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Newton Municipal Pool!

Those who go the extra mile and read for 1,000 minutes will be invited to a pizza party at the library!

How to use Reader Zone:

  1. Download the Reader Zone mobile app, or use the website,
  2. Click “Sign Up” and add your name.
  3. In order to join the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, you will need to enter a reading code. Click on “My Programs” and enter the code 96f6a in the box provided, selecting the correct age group.
  4. Now, log the time you spend reading! Click on “Reading Entry” and start the timer when you’re beginning a reading session. When you’re done, hit the pause icon. Did you forget to start or stop the timer? If the timer is running, click “Reset.” Then click “Manual Entry” to enter your reading time.

Educational Workshops from MIT and Stanford Spokes

Engineering students from MIT and Stanford are biking across the United States to offer educational workshops, including workshops at NPL! Youths ages 10-18 are invited to participate.

Stanford Spokes will be held on Monday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided. Email or call the library to sign up.

The date for MIT Spokes is still TBD, but please contact the library to sign up if interested, and we will let you know if/when a date is announced.

GameZone & Crafts

Head to the library for video games, board games and crafts this summer, Mondays from 4 to 5:30. Each GameZone will feature a different craft or activity.

  • June 5: Summer suncatchers
  • June 12: Father’s Day crafts
  • June 19: Painting on canvas
  • June 26: Perler beads
  • July 3: Fourth of July crafts
  • July 10: Friendship bracelets
  • July 17: Unicorn sand art bottles
  • July 24: No GameZone due to Stanford Spokes!
  • July 31: Washi tape

Teen Screen Saturdays

Enjoy free movie screenings at the library, 3 p.m. on the following Saturdays:

June 3: The Dark Knight (PG-13)

June 17: Remember the Titans (PG)

July 1: Bend It Like Beckham (PG-13)

July 15: The Parent Trap (PG)

Hands-On Activities

Watercolor Workshop: 6:30 p.m. June 13. Paint in watercolors with local artist Susan Bartel. Pre-registration is required; contact the library to sign up.

Self-Portrait Workshop: 3 p.m. June 21. Join artist Beth Burns to make mixed-media self-portrait collages. Registration required; contact the library to sign up.

Computer Programming Workshop: 6:30 p.m. July 11. Video game programmer Victor Cepeda will explain his job and lead a hands-on programming activity. Bring a fully-charged laptop if you have one, or use one of the library’s.

Breakfast Book Club

Like breakfast? Like books? Check out a copy of the book at the upstairs checkout desk, then join us for a discussion. Breakfast Book Club meets the following Saturdays at 11 a.m.

June 4 for Tweens: From the Desk of Zoe Washington, by Janae Marks

June 17 for Teens: All My Rage, by Sabaa Tahir

July 1 for Tweens: Nowhere Boy, by Katherine Marsh

July 15 for Teens: Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman

Adult Summer Reading Program

Reading Challenge

Stop by the library to sign up for the summer challenge and pick up reading record bookmarks. Then starting Monday, June 5, use the bookmarks to log at least 20 minutes of reading per day. (Audiobook listening counts.)

Return completed bookmarks to the library each week to win gift cards from local restaurants and businesses! Weekly prizes will be drawn on Tuesday mornings, so bring your bookmarks in on Saturday or Monday to be in the running.

All those who return bookmarks will also be entered in the end-of-summer grand prize drawing for a Kobo Nia eReader with built-in access to NPL’s e-book collection! The more you participate, the more chances you get. We also have Reading Bingo cards: Complete reading challenges to make bingos and turn in your card by the Adult SRP Grand Finale on July 29 to earn one extra grand prize entry for each bingo.

Book Discussions

Newton Public Library’s year-round book clubs continue to meet monthly during the summer! Book clubs are free and open to the public. Starting about a month before each discussion, copies of the selected book are available to borrow. Just ask at the public service desk.

For upcoming discussion dates and book selections, go to and look for the green rectangles. To sign up for timely book club updates and reminders, click here and select the “Book Discussions” checkbox, or ask a staff member.

Special Events

Coffee & Coloring at Norm’s: 6-8 p.m. June 1. To kick off Adult Summer Reading Program 2023, join NPL at Norm’s Coffee Bar, 613 N. Main Street, for a relaxing evening of coffee and coloring, with live music from Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony flutists Kristin Shaffer and Kenna Graber. The library will provide coloring sheets and colored pencils; buy your own beverages. In addition to adult coloring supplies, crayons and simpler coloring sheets will be available for children.

If These Walls Could Talk: Dave Loewenstein on Kansas Murals: 7 p.m. June 5. Dave Loewenstein will explore the artists, meanings, and impetus behind the state’s rich collection of public murals, and how they reflect an image of who we are as Kansans. Loewenstein is best known to Newtonians as the artist behind “The Imagineers,” a large mural located just south of the railroad tracks on Main Street. This is a hybrid program: Attend in person, or sign up to join remotely via Zoom. Presented with support from Humanities Kansas.

Kansas Mushrooms with Sherry Kay and Caleb Morse: 7 p.m. June 20. Join us for an author talk with two of the three co-authors of “A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms.” This new edition adds 50 species to the 150 described in the original guide, providing a wealth of new material that will aid and fascinate both newbies and seasoned mycophiles. This is a hybrid event: Attend in person, sign up to join remotely via Zoom, or head to the NPL Facebook page at the time of the event for a livestream.

Photo Club Field Trip to Miller Dairy Farm: 6:30 p.m. June 27. Join Fourth Tuesday Photography for a photography “field trip” to Miller Dairy Farm. We will meet at the farm, 6400 W. Illinois Ave., Hutchinson, KS, 67501. This will be a great learning, and photo, opportunity.

Newton Mural Walks: 7 p.m. July 10 & 13. In partnership with Newton Murals and Arts Project, join us for a walking tour highlighting some of Newton’s amazing murals. We will set out from Newton Public Library. Both walks will follow the same route.

Flour Power: Gene The History of the Tortilla: 6:30 p.m. July 18. This talk uncovers the rich history of Mexican immigration to Kansas and the journey of the humble but important tortilla. Presented by Gene Chávez, with generous support from Humanities Kansas. This is a hybrid event: Attend in person, sign up to join remotely via Zoom, or head to the NPL Facebook page at the time of the event for a livestream.

Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale: 2 p.m. July 29. Adult Summer Reading Program participants, join us for a “grand finale” party with cookies, SRP swag and a grand prize drawing, followed by a screening of the Beatles-themed movie-musical “Across the Universe,” for those who wish to stay and watch!

All-Ages Events

All-Ages Crafternoon: Kindness Rocks: 2 p.m. June 10. Kids and grown-ups of all ages are invited to paint and decorate rocks with positive messages.

Saturday Afternoon Movie: 2 p.m. June 24. Enjoy a free library screening of Pixar’s “Up” (G), with popcorn provided.

All-Ages Crafternoon: Tie Dye: 2 p.m. July 8. Join us at the library to have Fun with Tie Dye! Bring your own white or light-colored clothing item to dye, or we will have a limited supply of small items such as tea towels and socks. Prior registration required to ensure we have enough materials; email or call 316-283-2890 to sign up.

Saturday Afternoon Movie: 2 p.m. July 22. Enjoy a free library screening of “Wonder” (PG), with popcorn provided.

Family Folk Music: 7-7:45 p.m. July 24. For the final Family Monday in the park, enjoy live folk music courtesy of Road Less Traveled (Doug and Jude Krehbiel).