Newton Public Library Foundation

  720 North Oak, Newton, KS  67114
316.283.2890 ·
     Established in 1886

Celebrating knowledge

In 1886 the citizens of Newton made a commitment which continues to benefit people in the community. It was in that year, by special election, they voted to establish and support a public library.

An annual allocation of $1,500 from the City of Newton, a gift of land from E.C. Llewellyn, and a $15,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie made the building of the Library possible at the corner of 2nd and Main Streets. On March 14, 1904, the Newton Free Library building was dedicated with an open house.

In 1973, the Newton Free Library legally became the Newton Public Library in a new home at the corner of 7th and Oak. The dedication and open house on April 1, 1973, started the new era of service built on the fine traditions of the past.

Through the years many dedicated individuals have made the Newton Public Library an important information and recreational facility for the community. The past was shaped by hard-working, generous and enthusiastic supporters.

The Newton Public Library Foundation, formerly known as Second Century Library Foundation – Newton, was founded upon the celebration of the first century of operation of Newton’s Library. As the Library celebrated its 125th year, the Foundation became affiliated with the Central Kansas Community Foundation. You can continue the legacy. Support the Second Century Library Endowment Fund – Newton.

The mission of the Newton Public Library Foundation – Newton is to enhance the adult collection of the Newton Public Library by increasing and promoting educational, literary and artistic resources available to our community.

Just like the citizens before us, we have a vision and a plan for our Library and community.The Second Century Library Endowment Fund of the Newton Public Library has a current goal of $500,000. The funds will provide for an annual income for enhancements beyond those possible through general operating funds.

Advisory Board of Directors

Angela Becker – President
Charlie Robinson – Vice President
Marianne Eichelberger – Secretary/Library Director
Chris Allen – Treasurer
Cathy Edwards
Ashley Klein
Mary Anne McCloud
Bev McGee
Liz Pomeroy
Margie Knupp

Current Funds

Newton Public Library Building Fund
Second Century Library Endowment Fund
Montee/Silverstein Fund for the Newton Public Library
Helen E. Claassen Endowment Fund
Create your own fund for the Newton Public Library

For more information, to make a gift, or to learn more about establishing your own fund contact: Marianne Eichelberger, 316-283-2890 or visit their website.

History of the Newton Public Library

Carnegie plate

Miss Clara Rand of Chicago, a teacher in the city schools, promoted the idea of a library for Newton in the late 1870’s. The “Ben Franklin Library’, a semi-private affair, was established and later the Newton Public Library Association was organized with a membership of $1.00 per year. In 1886, at a special election, the citizens voted to establish and support the Newton Free Library.

The site at 2nd and Main was the gift of E.C. Llewellyn and was built by a gift of $15,000.00 from Andrew Carnegie. The City guaranteed at that time the necessary $1,500.00 yearly maintenance. On March 14, 1904, the Newton Free Library held an open house in their new building. It was built to serve a population of 8,000 and today is the oldest public building in town. In 1904, it became a member of the American Library Association. With periodic remodeling, the Carnegie Library served the needs of the community for many years.

On April 19, 1966, the City Commission voted to set aside one mill each year to accumulate funds to build a new library. The levy was for 10 years, or until $275,000.00 was accumulated. An additional grant of $53,341.00 in LSCA Title II funds became available. On January 27, 1972, bids were awarded for construction of a new building at the corner of 7th and Oak.

Transfer from the old Carnegie Library at the corner of 2nd and Main was made to the Newton Public Library in February 1973, and a Ribbon Cutting – Open House was held on April 1, 1973.

NPL Picture1In 1980, using $185,000 provided by Florence Bessmer, a wing for children called The Florence Bessmer Addition for Children was added. The Florence Bessmer Foundation began providing annual enhancement funds in 1983, primarily for Children’s Services.

In 1986, for the Centennial Anniversary, Alden Allbaugh wrote a comprehensive history of the Library entitled The Newton Public Library 100 Year History 1886 – 1986. The Newton Public Library Foundation was incorporated to provide funds for enhancement of Adult Services.


where possibilities begin  
Established September 27, 1886
Make your commitment to the future – today!

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