Newton Public Library will offer a four-part book discussion series January through May exploring the theme “Kansas at 150.”


Newton Public Library will offer a four-part book discussion series January through May exploring the theme “Kansas at 150.”

Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the library, 720 N. Oak.

The series is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization, as part of its Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program. The Council's Resource Center is furnishing the books and discussion leaders, supported by a gift from the Washburn University Center for Kansas Studies.

The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Ja. 25. Kim Stanley of McPherson College will lead a discussion of Kansas Poems of William Stafford in which the author, who was born in Hutchison, shows how his youth in Kansas deeply inflected his poetry. The second edition of this collection was published in 2010 and edited by Denise Low of Haskell Indian Nations University.

Outsiders may know us mostly as that place where Dorothy and Toto lived before the tornado swept them away, but Kansans know better. More than just the geographic center of the nation, Kansas provided a stage for many of the most dramatic episodes of American history. Following the state’s 2011 sesquicentennial, commemorating 150 years of Kansas, now is an apt time to take stock of where we have been, and where we are going.

The series continues with “Ordinary Genius” by Thomas Fox Averill (Feb. 29), “Now Let Me Fly” by Marcia Cebulska (March 28) and “It Happened in Kansas” by Sarah Smarsh (May 2).

To check out books and for more information about the reading series, contact the library at 283-2890.