Short ride today, only 25 miles from Burns, Kansas, to Newton, Kansas. After some fortifying donuts at Druber’s Donut Shop, we visited with James, Heather, and Karl at the Newton Bike Shop. We had heard a lot about the bike shop through friends and the film, Inspired to Ride. The shop was everything we expected and more: great stories about the Trans Am Bike Race, mementos from past racers, and bike stuff we needed to purchase. The Trans Am Bike Race began on June 2 and the front riders should pass through Newton on Sunday or Monday. John and I will hopefully pass some of them as we head west.
We’ve been looking forward to our visit to Newton. Not long after American Libraries Direct posted about our cross-country bicycle tour, we connected with Marianne Eichelberger (Library Director) and made plans to visit the Newton Public Library. Today we spent time with Marianne and Dan Eells (Adult Supervisor), plus spoke briefly with some of the other staff, including Betsy Davis (Collection Development and Technical Services Supervisor). Out-of-town visitors do visit the library, some even on bicycles! Since Newton is directly on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, many bicycle tourist come to the library to use the computers, wifi, and to find a place to relax. And in early July, MITSpokes is stopping at the Library to work with local youth. MITSpokes is a group of eight MIT students that share their love of Science-Technology-Engineering-Math while stopping at selected sites during their cross-country bike trip. Very cool!
Exciting things are happening at the Newton Public Library this summer, with a busy program schedule including the Adult and Children’s Summer Reading Programs (Libraries Rock!!); Veteran’s Memoir Writing Workshop; weekly Tech Time; and two adult book clubs. This weekend the Flower and Garden Tour is happening, with proceeds benefitting the Second Century Library Foundation. The library also provides door-to-door book delivery service for the elderly and helps many people with online job applications. One happy story: recently a patron brought pizza for the library staff, announcing they had received a job and thanking the library for their help!
Newton has a historic Carnegie building on Main Street that now houses the Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives. The Library moved to its current location in 1973 and has over the years suffered from water leaks and space constraints. The Library has been advocating for an improved library space since 2006, with plans for a new building presented in 2010. During the past few years, Newton has funded other community needs, such as a remodel for the police station and city swimming pool. But the library continues to advocate for the new building and appreciates others voicing their support at community meetings and other venues, such as social media or blogs--like librariansonbikes.com! We strongly add our voices in support for a new public library building in Newton. We’ve seen improved library spaces bring new energy to communities and make the library a vital meeting and learning space. Trust us, it will be a source of pride and success for Newton.
Thanks to all of the staff that met with us, particularly Marianne and Dan. Lunch was delicious and the conversation most enjoyable and informative!