The Carlisle Public Library, in its current location, celebrated its 30 years anniversary Dec. 18.

Thirty-seven patrons visited the library during its historical celebration. Those in attendance were treated to a short video memorializing events over the past 30 years and refreshments. Visitors also received a free book bag for attending.

The Carlisle Public Library opened its doors on Dec. 18, 1983, after being in a location on Main Street. At the time librarian Lela Gooden oversaw a circulation of 5,708 magazines and books. Today the library has a circulation of more than 15,000 books, magazines and videos housed within its four walls. It also has an additional 1,938 ebooks available for check out on-line.

With the growth of the library over the years, additional employees have been added as well as other forms of entertainment. There are currently two library assistants to the current librarian Lynnette Ward. Some of the other forms of entertainment the library now offers include: five computers, in-house board games, DVDs, free wifi, a touchscreen early literacy station and a variety of programs for all ages.

"Libraries are changing," Ward said.

Ward, the library’s fourth librarian, said one of the most recent changes the library has seen is its change in operational hours. She said the library is now open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday.

She said the operational hours were changed so the would be more accommodating to patrons who work out of town.

While there are currently 1,575 total registered library patrons, Ward said usage of the library is still necessary. She said librarians are often told they need to increase their numbers, so feedback from the community plays a vital role in library systems.

"We would love to know what the town wants in order to get people to use the library more," Ward said.

Ward said there has been a library committee recently formed, consisting of four librarians, a library board member, regional director and the Lonoke/Prairie Regional cataloger. She said she and the rest of the committee will prepare a strategic plan for the future of the Carlisle Public Library and other libraries in the Lonoke and Prairie County library system.

"One thing in the future I would love to see is a program room so that the programs aren’t held out in the middle of the library," Ward said.

Ward said she would like the program room to also consist of a small kitchen to use during adult "Pinch of this" cooking demonstration program as well as other activities. She said a kitchen area would also give the library the ability to offer more healthy snacks to the children and provide the ability for future programs.

"It would open up more doors for programing," Ward said.

There are currently no additions or expansions planned for library.

As for future activities at the library, Ward said there are already some exciting plans for 2014. One of the upcoming avenue includes two "my free little library" which will be located at the City and Rock Island parks. The free libraries will offer patrons the ability to take or trade books of their choosing. She said the idea behind the free libraries was to better accommodate those who work out of town or children who’s parents work out of town so they are unable to get a library card.

"It’s mostly for the people who work out of town and can’t get to the library during the week," Ward said.

Ward said it may also be fitting for readers who do not like the library’s three week checkout period. She said because the books are free to take, there would be no late fees.

According to Ward the library will also be hatching eggs in an incubator in the spring. She said the process will be on web cam so patrons can watch activity from their homes. She said this was provided to the library through the Lonoke County Cooperative Extension Service.

This years summer reading program is themed science, Ward said. She said the library will he housing the bearded dragon from the elementary school during the summer reading program. Ward said feeding sessions of the animal will also be on web cam for patrons to view from home.

The Carlisle Public Library is located at 105 E. 5th St.