Wichita Public Library

Stephanie Huff / Wichita Public Library

Libraries in Kansas and across the country are trying to help children improve early literacy skills by offering a reading challenge: to read 1000 books before kindergarten.

The Wichita Public Library is hosting a series of programs this year looking at issues of race and ethnicity, particularly in relation to law enforcement. 

The first presentation in the "Candid Conversations" series will be from Dr. Gretchen Eick, a history professor at Friends University. Eick is the author of Dissent in Wichita, a book focusing on race relations and the modern civil rights movement, particularly Wichita's Dockum Sit-In, one of the first anti-segregation demonstrations of its kind in the country.

Courtesy Wichita Public Library

The Wichita Public Library is engaging young readers through the Kansas Reads to Preschoolers program using a selected children's book. The month-long event promotes reading to children statewide from birth through age five.

Parents, librarians, and others who care for children are encouraged to share this year's book, "Bear Sees Colors," by Karma Wilson. The book will also be incorporated into various weekly storytimes at five library locations.

Courtesy Wichita Public Library/GLMV Architects

The Wichita Public Library Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from John Hyde, grandson of a Wichitan who invented mentholatum ointment.

The funds will go towards the campaign to build Wichita’s new Advanced Learning Library.

John Hyde serves on the foundation's board of directors and is Professor Emeritus of History at Williams College in Massachusetts. Hyde says he believes in supporting a project that invests in the knowledge of the community and the preservation of its history.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Ground broke today on Wichita’s new Advanced Learning Library.

The 2-story, 105,200-square-foot building at 2nd Street and McLean Boulevard, just west of downtown and the Arkansas River, will feature conference rooms, a dedicated research pavilion, a digital pavilion and a learning center just for kids.

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell told the crowd at Wednesday's event that the community is doing more than just breaking ground on a new library.

The Wichita Public Library Foundation announced a major gift toward its new Advanced Learning Library.

Cox Business has donated $500,000 toward the new facility being built at 2nd and McLean. A cash gift of $250,000 will go toward the library’s Digital Pavilion, and the company will give another $250,000 in high-speed internet services. Foundation chairman Don Barry said during the mayor's briefing Thursday that the Advanced Learning Library capital campaign is now almost 80 percent complete.​

Courtesy Wichita Public Library/GLMV Architects

A state-of-the-art new central library is coming to downtown Wichita.

City Council gave final approval Tuesday for the $37 million dollar project to be built near the corner of 2nd Street and McLean.

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UPDATE Feb. 2 at 1:18 p.m.: Wichita City Council signed off on the final design and construction budget for the “advanced learning library” by a vote of 5 to 2.

The Wichita City Council is scheduled to make a final decision Tuesday on whether a proposed advanced learning library will be built.

The current central library on South Main Street is 48 years old, and officials say it is not meeting the needs of its users.

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It will be a few more months before the Wichita City Council decides whether the new $30 million central library project will move forward and be built.

The new central library, now called the “Advanced Learning Library,” was supposed to go out for bid this month according to a deal reached last January, but the project’s not ready for a vote. There’s still work to be done on the building design plan and final construction documents.

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A fundraising goal for a new central library near downtown Wichita has increased to $8 million. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, the Wichita Public Library Foundation says they’re more than halfway there.

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