Browsing is back at Newton Public Library

Chad Frey
The Kansan

For Newton Public Library users this is a big week — caution tape used to cordon off shelves is being removed and the library is taking a step towards being fully open. 

As of  May 3 Newton Public Library patrons were welcome to stroll the shelves — for the first time in more than a year.

“Throughout the pandemic, and certainly for the last few months, the number one question from patrons has been, ‘When are you going to open the shelves?’” said Dr. Cari Cusick, Newton Public Library director. “Everyone is overjoyed that we now have a good answer to that question.”

Sharon Cepeda (assistant youth services supervisor)  removers the caution tape used to close the Newton Public Library shelves in preparation for opening up browsing this Monday.

While the shelves are reopening, masks are still required inside the library for adults as well as children ages 5 and older. Computer and study table availability is limited due to social distancing considerations. Public programs – including adult programs and book discussions as well as children’s StoryTimes and Summer Library Program activities – will still be hosted either online or out Military Park.

With the lower level reopened, kids and parents can more easily choose the books, DVDs, activity kits and board games that interest them. What they can’t do – yet – is settle in to spend a whole morning or afternoon reading and playing. The Toy Corral remains closed, and seating has been removed downstairs.

“We’ve got lots of awesome outdoor StoryTimes and other outdoor events in the works for this summer,” youth services supervisor Amy Bayes said. “With those, plus the reopening of our indoor space, we’re all looking forward to the atmosphere getting a lot livelier around here.”

Emma Kliewer (library aide) taking down the caution tape in preparation for opening up browsing May 3

Pickup service will still be available. Patrons can use the online catalog at to search for titles and place requests, or call 316-283-2890, email, or ask a staff member. Requested items are pulled and made available for convenient pickup at the public service desk. No-contact pickup, with items bagged and left on the bench in the front lobby, is also available on request.