Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library

The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library (CCJPL) serves the people of northeastern Arkansas, with a main facility in downtown Jonesboro (Craighead County). It also has branches in the Craighead County towns of Brookland, Caraway, Lake City, and Monette along with a cooperative agreement with the neighboring Poinsett County library system.

Established in 1917, the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library was incorporated in 1941. Over the years, it moved to several different locations in downtown Jonesboro, with its current building opening in 1964. Since that time, several additions have expanded the library structure, including a 1978 addition to accommodate facilities for patrons with visual impairments and physical disabilities. In 1978, the library’s popular Arkansas Genealogy Room was created. It holds an extensive collection of research materials for tracing family history, as well as access to online genealogical databases. CCJPL also houses a large collection of local newspapers on microfilm dating back to the 1890s, with additional microfilm archives including census, court, marriage, and tax records.

In 1988, the library building was expanded again. Ten years later, the interior space was enlarged through renovation. The Children’s Library, featuring the Family Activity Center, was added in 2000 during a remodeling.

Much of the funding was made possible by community support. Craighead County voters approved a one-mill increase in 1994. In addition to enhancements at the Jonesboro facility, the millage increase allowed CCJPL to build and/or remodel branch libraries in three other Craighead County locations: the Caraway Public Library in Caraway, the McAdams Public Library in Lake City, and the Kohn Memorial Library Monette. Each of the Craighead County branch libraries is open at least twenty-five hours per week.

The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library is also part of a cooperative arrangement with the Poinsett County library system. Together, they constitute what is called the Crowley Ridge Regional Library. A patron who has a library card issued by any library in the Crowley Ridge Regional Library system may use it not only at CCJPL’s main facility in Jonesboro and the Craighead County branches at Brookland, Caraway, Lake City, and Monette, but also at the Poinsett County Library in Harrisburg, the Goldsby Public Library in Lepanto, the Marked Tree Public Library in Marked Tree, and the West Poinsett Memorial Library in Weiner (all in Poinsett County).

The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library enjoys support from a volunteer group known as Friends of the Library (FOL). One of their fundraising activities is running the FOL Bookshop, in which gently used books, magazines, and audio/visual materials are sold.

The library facility in Jonesboro offers study rooms as well as a limited number of computers that can be used on a walk-up basis. In addition to live events at the library, CCJPL sponsors an online “Book Talk” series. The library also provides space for individuals or organizations to display artistic, civic, cultural, educational, or recreational exhibits that are judged to be of interest to CCJPL patrons.

During the midterm elections of November 8, 2022, citizens approved a petition to cut the millage supporting the operation of the Jonesboro/Craighead County Public Library in half. The petition, which came in response to complaints about materials carried by the library (specifically materials relating to the LGBTQ community), received a county-wide vote of approximately 59.8 percent in favor of cutting the funds to 37.5 percent to keep the current funding. In response, the CCJPL’s library director stated that if funding was cut in half, they would likely be forced to close their doors around the county; in November the following year, library director Vanessa Adams announced that staffing would be cut drastically and that one of the library branches would be closed in 2024.

For additional information:
Baptiste, Nathalie. “What Happened when One Community Defunded Its Library.” Huffington Post, January 16, 2024. (accessed January 22, 2024).

Bowden, Bill. “Library to Make Staff Cuts.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 23, 2023, pp. 1B, 3B. Online at (accessed November 24, 2023).

Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library. (accessed September 22, 2022).

Miss, Teresa. “Fund Cut Passes for Craighead County Libraries.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 9, 2022, p. 3B. Online at (accessed November 9, 2022).

Nancy Hendricks
Garland County Historical Society


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