Dr. Ronald W. Walters Branch Library

Overhead view of the Dr. Ronald W. Walters Branch Library site in District 3

In 2021, a new branch library opened in southeast Wichita's Council District III!

The branch library will offer a variety of services including a large children's section, a dedicated teen space, a large meeting room for Library programming and community use, a 24-hour outside materials return, and 16 public computers in addition to public wireless internet.

Located at 4195 E. Harry, at the southwest corner of Harry & Terrace, on a site known to residents as the Wichita Mall or the Harry Street Mall, the new location is highly visible from Harry Street. The location is accessible by the 22 and 202 public transit routes.

The space is 6,904 square feet and allows the expansion of public computing, a larger meeting room, and zoned spaces to better accommodate customer use needs. This move will also bring library services back to District III.

Branch library projects, including this new branch library, will reflect aesthetics and operational models learned from the opening of the Advanced Learning Library, such as flexible spaces, meeting rooms, self-service technology, more public computing options, and access to more materials. The Linwood Park Branch will move to this building in early 2021.

Building Name

In accordance with Wichita City Council Policy 13, the City Council has appointed the Library Board of Directors as this building's naming advisory committee. During an initial public engagement period from October 21-November 6, 70 unique submissions were submitted.

At the November 17 Library Board meeting, the Board narrowed the list to five possibilities:

  • Ad Astra Branch Library
    "To the stars" is the Kansas state motto, and libraries help lift members of the community through resources and services.
  • Carl Brewer Branch Library
    Carl Brewer served as the 100th Mayor of the City of Wichita from 2007-2015. He was the first elected African American mayor and led the City Council towards approving the Advanced Learning Library. Among his many attributes, many residents viewed him as a champion of public services for all members of the community.
  • Cynthia Berner Branch Library
    Cynthia Berner was the Director of Libraries for the Wichita Public Library from 2000-2020, and worked for the Library system previously since 1984. Her career was dedicated to building a strong, leading-edge library system to serve current community needs and expand services for future generations.
  • Meadowlark Branch Library
    Meadowlark is the name of the former drive-in theater that once stood near the site of the new library. It's the name of a nearby park and neighborhood, and it's the official Kansas state bird.
  • Ronald Walters Branch Library
    Dr. Ronald W. Walters was an American author, speaker and scholar of African American politics. In 1958, Walters organized the Dockum Drug Store Sit-In, one of the first lunch counter sit-ins of the civil rights movement. He was the director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program, Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, and professor in government and politics at the University of Maryland. He was born in Wichita.

From November 20-December 7, the naming committee sought feedback to determine the top three choices. The responses with the most votes were, in order:

  1. Carl Brewer Branch Library
  2. Meadowlark Branch Library
  3. Ronald Walters Branch Library

At the December 15 Library Board meeting, the Board voted on a recommendation to present at the City Council's January 5, 2021 meeting. At that meeting, the City Council voted 5-1 to officially name the facility the Dr. Ronald W. Walters Branch Library.

What It Will Include

Floor plan for the District 3 branch library

A Teen space with seating

B Expanded public computing area

C Self-service computer reservations, printing, and checkout

D 24-hour outside materials return

E Enlarged children's area with parent and child seating

F Large meeting room

Construction Photos

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