Go on a nature-themed scavenger hunt at the Children’s Library. Get the first clue from the front desk from 9am – 6pm, and bring us back the code word for a prize! A new hunt occurs around the beginning of each month.
The January grab & go craft is a book page wreath. Kits will be available starting Monday, January 4, 2021. Kits will be available at Fletcher & Terry Libraries. While supplies last.
Each kit includes the dry ingredients and recipe for a delicious 5 bean soup that teens can prepare at home. This soup is vegetarian as presented, but feel free to toss in some leftover holiday ham for an even tastier treat! Available starting January 11 while supplies last.
Kids grab and go craft is Craft Stick Snowman. Provided are the painted sticks, hat tie, and nose. Patrons will need to have glue or hot glue and a sharpie. ss Available starting January 11 while supplies las
Presented by CALS Writing Circle, this ongoing class meets once each week and takes attendees aged 55+ through the steps of writing their own life stories. You’ll be given tools and techniques to help you learn to write regularly and productively. Everyone is welcome; no writing experience is required.
No matter who you are,
Speaker Series Explores Wizardry, Ghosts, and the Creation of a Culture
Six Bridges Book Festival welcomes C. M. Waggoner, author of The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry; Nell Irvin Painter, author of Creating Black Americans; and Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations, for a series of author talks this spring. These virtual events are free and open to the public, but reservations are requested at cals.org.
C. M. Waggoner, The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry
Thursday, January 21, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Danielle Butler
Nell Irvin Painter, Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present
Thursday, February 18, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Jessica McDaniel
Kevin Brockmeier, The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories
Thursday, March 11, 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Susan Petty Moneyhon
A Message from CALS
Happy New Year. Last year was challenging for all of us in so many ways. The library was not spared any of the stress and hardship of 2020, but I’m pleased to bring this report to you and declare that we were not only able to adjust and adapt to the pandemic, but to thrive at times. Thanks to our dedicated staff and your patience and support, CALS’ achievements last year were remarkable.
As the pandemic hit our state in early March, we pivoted to virtual programming; taking our story times and craft spaces into a YouTube channel and adjusting our accompanying craft time to become Grab & Go kits so that kids and parents can get the same experience at home.
We took two of our largest annual programs virtual – Six Bridges Book Festival and Summer Reading Club. Six Bridges spanned eleven days, and featured more than 60 authors, many of whom hosted sessions live via Zoom.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas kept growing, surpassing 6,000 entries and serving as a constant source for journalists, teachers, and anyone interested in putting the events of today into context. I was particularly proud to see an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial on March 22, 2020, marveling at how the EOA seems to turn up everywhere people were seeking to understand the history and people of our state, even as far reaching as Antarctica.
CALS was one of 78 nonprofit organizations to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant to host a community reading of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This $14,900 grant allowed us to share the author’s insights with our patrons and celebrate the joy of engaging with others about a good book.
Even as we were faced with so much uncertainty and many organizations were pulling back, we were able to launch two new programs, Count UP and Rock It! Lab. With a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation, Count UP offers students one-on-one virtual math tutoring and access to online help with math homework.
We have also drawn help from members of the math faculty of UA Little Rock for this new program. The Rock It! Lab offers expertise and mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities. We have a dedicated space for this program in the Main Library, but currently this program has launched virtually. The Heart of Arkansas United Way and a local private donor contributed significantly to the financial underwriting of this new program which is in partnership with Benito Lubazibwa and ReMix Ideas.
As part of fulfilling our 2019 strategic plan calling for more efforts to lower barriers to the library, we added two community liaisons and an outreach coordinator to increase engagement with underserved individuals and to gain a sharper understanding of how we might better serve unmet needs of people outside our library buildings. One early mark of this new work was in refashioning the Millie Brooks Library in Wrightsville. In 2021, watch for more of these efforts to learn what we can do to help people connect with their library as a source of inspiration and transformation.
CALS also extended itself to help with civic participation. Our community liaisons to the Black and Latinx communities assisted local government with the important work of helping ensure Arkansans were counted in the 2020 census. Eight of our library locations were utilized as early and Election Day polling sites last fall. The City of Little Rock & CALS meals program partnership, Be Mighty, initiated in 2019, teamed up with the Little Rock School District and World Central Kitchen to serve three meals a day to children from the first day schools were closed in March through July. We recruited 77 volunteers to help us serve those meals at our libraries.
It is a tribute to our staff’s passion and hard work that CALS was acknowledged with an honorable mention for the second annual Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize by the Library Journal in November. This award recognizes the public library as a vital community asset; CALS was noted for our “imaginative and replicable focus on equity, social justice and the health of our communities.”
All of this works hand in hand with the notion that CALS is The Library, Rewritten. Books are and will always remain a central part of our mission but the library is no longer a quiet building where we loan out books. From live music and art galleries to tool rentals and business incubators, we have fully reimagined what it means to be a library in our community.
Thank you for making this possible; we could not have done this without your support and your abiding commitment to maintaining a first-class public library in our community. Thank you to our many partners, those mentioned above and others like the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the Arkansas Arts Center, the Clinton Foundation, Little Rock Parks and Rec, and UA Clinton School of Public Service, to name a few, who enabled our successes in 2020 despite a global pandemic. I extend my personal thank you to the 13 fine citizens from all over our service area who give their time and energy to serving on the CALS board. I offer my heartfelt thanks to our staff for weathering the stress and threats to their health with grit and tenacity for their work. And last but not least, thank you to every one of our patrons who continued to use and appreciate their public library. I’m excited about 2021 and hope to see you all – one way or another. Stay healthy!
CALS Executive Director