People who utilize the Crawford County Library System can expect to see new developments this year.

Crawford County Library System Director Eva White said the library system’s overall goal in 2018 is better service to the people of the county. One change will be the completion of a new library at 223 U.S. 71 in Mountainburg.

White said Crawford Construction Co., construction manager for the project, is ahead of schedule by almost a month. The library system is hoping that it may have the new library open by May if everything works out as planned. The new library is almost double the size of the current Mountainburg library at 1300 N. U.S. 71.

“We’ll be able to do a whole lot more programming up there because we’ll have the space to do so, and Mountainburg residents will have more books to read, and more facilities to use, and that sort of thing,” White said.

Progress has also been made on an expansion of the Mulberry Public Library. The library was renamed the Ralph D. Graf Library of Mulberry after the late father of Paul Graf and Donna Moore, who, with their respective spouses, donated $100,000 for the expansion, according to an article previously published in the Times Record. The Crawford County Library Board approved the new name during its meeting in November.

Mulberry Mayor Gary Baxter said the city started advertising for bids for construction Tuesday.

The bid opening will take place Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the Mulberry City Complex. Groundbreaking on the project will take place as soon as possible after that.

Baxter said the city hopes to have the expansion complete within three or four months after groundbreaking. In an article previously published in the Times Record, White said expanding the Mulberry library is important because there is no space to do library programs in the current building.

However, not all changes in the library system involve construction. White said it has a new theme for its summer reading program titled Libraries Rock. This will involve musicians performing at each library in the Crawford County Library System in conjunction with its reading program. Brian Kinder will perform in June while the band the Sock Rockerz will perform in July.

“We’ve got an invitation in to the Navy Band to come in May,” White said. “And we’re working to get that scheduled, but we haven’t firmed it up yet, but we’re planning on having them at some point during the summer.”

Another addition that was made available last week was ArtistWorks for Libraries. White said that by using this new online database, which can be found on the Crawford County Library System website, people can learn how to play different musical instruments.

“There’s lots of people in this area that are musically inclined, and this will give them an opportunity to take lessons, and they don’t have to pay for it,” White said.

White said the Alma Public Library will also start having a Saturday story time once a month. The first of these will be Saturday.

Also, the Crawford County Library Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cedarville Public Library, Crawford County Library Board Meeting, 737 Pirates Way.