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The Creek Rocks in Sparta

Community gathers for concert at the library

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More than 50 people came to spend an hour listening to music and celebrating their community at the Sparta branch of the Christian County Library on Friday night.

Sparta hosted the first of five outdoor concerts that celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Christian County Library. The Sparta branch opened to the public on May 7, and the concert was the first event of its type at the new building on Library Lane off of Highway 14.

Branch manager Whit Gillenwaters welcomed Sparta residents to the concert and passed out cookies in celebration of the Christian County Library’s birthday. She then turned over the show to Cindy Woolf, one half of the Creek Rocks duo. The other half, Mark Bilyeu, was unable to make it due to a last-minute conflict, so Woolf entertained the crowd solo with her smooth style of folksy, bluegrass sounds.

“Before we were the Creek Rocks, we were Cindy Woolf,” Woolf joked before she started playing her set.

People set up lawn chairs and umbrellas and enjoyed Woolf’s songs as they snacked on the cookies and the foods they brought with them. The parking lot was full.

In May of 2021, the Christian County Library reached its goal of “Four on 14,” four freestanding library branches on Highway 14 that are accessible to the vast majority of the estimated 88,000 people who live in Christian County. The new branches in Sparta and Clever operate with the same hours and offer the same amenities as the libraries in Nixa and in Ozark.

Modern libraries aren’t just for books. Programming offers patrons of all ages to learn new skills or try new activities. If you need help starting a business, if you want to research a topic, or if you are simply looking for new ways to have some fun, you can find it at the library.

As the concert series is designed to demonstrate, libraries can also be gathering places for neighbors to come together and have fun.

The Christian County Library planned to expand and build new library branches for more than 12 years. The library operates as its own taxing entity and is governed by the Christian County Library Board of Trustees.

In 2017, Christian County voters approved the renewal of the library’s tax levy rate, providing the needed funding for expansion. The library invested in building the Sparta and Clever branches, plus the purchase of new library materials, including books, DVDs, computers, furniture, and library supplies, at a cost of $4.1 million dollars.

The new Sparta library branch includes spaces for book shelving, computer terminals, community rooms for library programs and community use, a study room for small groups, teen and children’s areas, circulation desks, quiet reading spaces, and a drive-through pick-up window.

Live music at the Christian County Library

Each branch will host live music events to help celebrate 65 years of service. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and the whole family. Find out more at http://christiancountylibrary.com/concerts

All concerts start at 6 p.m.

Oct. 2 - Ozark - The Shandies

Oct. 9 - Nixa - One More Dollar Band

Oct. 16 - Ozark - Dallas Jones and Jimmy Rea

Oct. 23 - Clever - Uke 66

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