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History of Crawford County Library System

On July 1, 1999, the libraries in Crawford County opened their doors for the first time as the Crawford County Library System.  Before this date, they were part of the Ozarks Regional Library System.  The five libraries, Alma, Cedarville, Mountainburg, Mulberry and Van Buren, withdrew from the regional system when several other regional systems were also splitting to make other arrangements. 

On July 1, 1999, CCLS had approximately 60,000 books and other materials included in the five libraries.  There were eight employees, plus a new director taking on the job of organizing the new county system.  The Mountainburg Library was in the middle of remodeling a building they had leased from the United States Forestry Service so they could move out of the City Complex Building.  They moved the newly remodeled building in October of 1999.  The Alma Library was in the process of purchasing the hardware store on Fayetteville Avenue which they did and remodeled during the following year.  They moved into the remodeled building in April 2000.

For our Twentieth Anniversary, CCLS has over 197,000 book and other materials included in the five libraries and we employee twenty-eight people.  We have new libraries at Mulberry (2006), Van Buren (2011), Cedarville (2011), and Mountainburg (2018).  Alma has purchased and remodeled a second store front to add to their library (2006).   Mulberry expanded their library and doubled the size in 2018.  Alma has begun the process of exploring options for a new building in the near future. 

Services have been expanded throughout the years.  Besides books that we have always provided, we now have expanded the number of computers we offer to the public which include laptops.  We offer databases for research and learning, genealogy searches, foreign languages study, newspaper searches (both microfilm and online) and many other topics provided by the Arkansas State Library and IMLS.  We now offer both eBooks and e-audio books that can be downloaded to personal devices through our web page at www.crawfordcountylib.org.  This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  We offer Interlibrary Loan Services to our patrons that want items that we do not have in our system.  We order books from all over the United States on topics that are not covered in our collection.  This service is free like most of our services.  We have added wireless printing recently.  Patrons can send a document that they want to print to us from their phone, computer or other device and come by and pick it up at their convenience.  We do charge for printing. 

In 1999, our libraries provided story time for pre-school children during the school year and summer reading programs for all children during the summer.  We have continued to provide these programs but now provide many more.  We provide programming for babies from age 1 to 3.  Teen programming is provided after school and also during the summer months.  This includes robotics, STEM and STEAM programs at all branches.  We have art camps at each branch during the summer in partnership with the Center for Art in Education.  Besides those we have special music, magic shows, science programs, and many more options as we are able to find and fund them.  Adults are not left out.  We have exercise programs, health seminars, craft and art classes, books clubs, educational opportunities, etc.  Check our web page and our Face Book pages for opportunities to join us for a program that you will enjoy. 

CCLS has provided these new services through a 1.4 mill property tax that was passed in 1998.  Our county has grown along with CCLS in order for us to provide these new programs and opportunities for learning.  We thank the citizens of Crawford County for your support throughout the twenty years we have been a county library system.  We ask for your continued support throughout the coming years.  We also ask for your input on how we can better serve you and your needs as a library system.