Christian County Library Director Geri Godber recounted her experience people watching in Clever on a week day just after school let out. She watched a school bus make a series of stops along North Public Avenue, or State Route K.

Kids walked from the buses toward their homes in droves.

“They had created a trail, essentially, of kids walking home from bus stops to the subdivision that’s behind the current library. All I could think was, because these looked like they would be middle school and high school kids, ‘Come on down, ya’ll,’” Godber said.

A new library in Clever will have a teen area designed just for kids like the ones Godber saw walking home to utilize after school.

Residents of Clever are used to having a public library, but not like the one that’s under construction on Highway 14 just west of Southern Bank. When construction is finished and the new Clever library opens in early 2021, Clever will have a 5,100-square foot library with the same amenities, resources and programs offered at libraries in bigger cities.

“All of the services offered at Ozark and Nixa will be offered at Clever, as well,” Godber said. “We will have expanded hours. All of the branches will have the same hours, and so we’ll have more staff there. We’ll be able to have more computers. There will be work stations for somebody to come in and use the WiFi.”

An exact date for a grand opening won’t be announced until the completion date is made definite.

“Every day, so much happens, so we’re thoroughly pleased and look to have a grand opening for Clever in January of 2021,” Godber said.

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.

“We’ll be that community resource for Clever and the surrounding area,” Godber said.

It’s not just for residents of Clever. Anyone from Christian County can obtain a library card at no cost. These is also an out-of-county resident fee of $20 per household for the year, so residents of Hurley or unincorporated northern Stone County communities like Union City or Possom Trot can use the Clever library’s resources.

“You don’t have to have a library card to come there and use our WiFi, to go to programs, to read the magazines or the newspapers on the shelf,” Godber said. “If you want to check out materials, you have to use a library card.”

The Clever library will house the newly-reorganized collection from the former Clever library, which was located in a storefront building on Clarke Avenue. The materials in the Clever library are refreshed quarterly, which offers patrons the chance to browse new materials at least four times per year.

“In addition to a larger collection, they’re going to see these study room and meeting rooms spaces that a storefront doesn’t have, a lot more computers, and essentially, a full staff,” Christian County Library Director of Communications and Community Engagement Nicholas Holladay said.

There will be plenty of new materials for longtime Clever library patrons to browse when the new building opens.

“We purposely are planning the time from when the building is completely and, essentially, the keys are turned over to us, to our grand opening to allow for everything to be ready and set to go, and looking fantastic so it’s the best library for those communities,” Godber said.

In 2017, Christian County voters approved the renewal of the library’s tax levy rate, providing the needed funding for expansion. The construction of both branches and purchase of new library materials, including books, DVDs, computers, furniture, and library supplies, is estimated to be $4.1 million dollars.

Construction Services Group, which does business as the Marion Company, won the bid for two Christian County Library projects, one in Clever and one in Sparta.

When the projects are complete, the Christian County Library will have its goal of “Four on 14,” four freestanding library branches on Highway 14 that are accessible to the vast majority of the estimated 90,000 who live in Christian County. The branches in Sparta and Clever will operate with the same hours as the libraries in Ozark and Nixa, with the same amenities.

The Christian County Library will hire two branch managers and some part-time librarians to staff the two new branches, adding up to four or five new jobs in each community.

To view the library’s virtual groundbreaking video and for construction and news updates please visit http://christiancountylibrary.org/expansion.

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