Name of Business: Cross County Library
Owner: Citizens of Cross County
Location(s): Main Building – 410 E. Merriman Ave, Wynne AR 72396
Cherry Valley – City Hall Building- 166 Hwy 1 B, Cherry Valley AR 72324
Hickory Ridge – City Hall Building– 135 S Front Street, Hickory Ridge AR 72347
When and Where Founded: The library was first established in the back room of the Women's Progressive Club in 1945 and operated by volunteers. Later, it had a room upstairs in the Cross County Courthouse Extension Building, the buff brick house that sat south of the old courthouse. In 1962 Southwestern Bell transferred ownership of their telephone building to Cross County for use as a library.
Original Products and Services: The library originally had magazines and books that were exchanged. In the early 1990s, internet service and computers were added to the library’s services.
Other Previous Owners: Anita Holt Thwing, Gloria Brown Borell, Alva McElroy Jackson and Joyce Harris Walker were some of the first volunteers when the library was in the Progressive Club building. Mrs. A. O. Chastain was the first paid librarian. In 1975, Lolly Shaver became the librarian and served in that capacity until September of 2005, when Caprisha Page became the Director. In June of 2009, Holly Mercer was hired as the Director.
Significant Changes or Advances:
In 1982 Cross and Woodruff counties joined together to create the East Central Arkansas Regional Library System. The object of the creating the region was to meet the educational, information, and recreational needs of the people of both counties. On October 14, 2003 a 1.5 millage was passed to support the library’s operations.
Growth & Expansions: In 1982 a back addition was constructed. In 1998, the east side was added, which sits approximately on part of where Barwick Ford Company was once located.
Today’s Products and Services:
The mission of the library is:
1. To assemble, preserve, and administer, in organized collections, books, audios, videos, and electronic information in order to promote the communication of ideas, and enlightened citizenship and enriched personal lives.
2. To serve the community as a center of reliable information.
3. To promote a place where inquiring minds may encounter the original, sometimes unorthodox and critical ideas so necessary as correctives and stimulants in a society that depends for its survival on free competition of ideas.
4. To support educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations.
5. To provide opportunity and encouragement for children, young people, men and women to education themselves continuously.
6. To seek continually to identify community needs, to provide programs of service to meet such needs, and to cooperate with other organizations, agencies, and institutions which can provide programs or services to meet community needs.
7. To provide opportunity for recreation through the use of literature, audios, videos, and other art forms.
The main library building is 8,700 square feet. The library’s collection and services have expanded since the library was first opened. Today the library has a collection of over 30,000 print items, 2,000 videos, downloadable audio books, public access computers, wireless internet, electronic books for kids, an active Summer Reading Programs, online research tools, computer classes, numerous author visits and arts shows, and an active Friends of the Library Group. The library has a 24/7 web presence and the building provides services 49 hours per week.
Most Popular Products & Services: All of the library’s services are popular. The over 10,000 registered library users use the library in a variety of ways. Some enjoy finding books by their favorite author, or discovering a new favorite author. Some enjoy using the computers to find information and connect with friends and family. Children enjoy the library’s children’s books and programs, especially the Summer Reading Program.
Prices and Specifications: The library’s services are free because the library is supported through a millage and individual donations.
Future Plans:The library will continue to meet the community’s needs through a variety of services and programs. As the use of the library grows, future plans are to expand the building. The library will be the focal point of the downtown area and be utilized as a place for the community to gather and learn.