Movies Made in AR:
White LIghtning

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Words on Wheels

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Understanding Your Community's Civic Health

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News & Events

Blog

Fine Limits Change May 1

Everything is going to be fine.

Early last Spring, we increased the fine limit to allow a bit of breathing room for our patrons as we all adjusted to a difficult time. But now, it’s time for all of us to begin the process of returning to normal, including reducing our fine limit to pre-pandemic amounts.

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Event

Food for Good Supper

The Nixon Library serves an afterschool meal

Monday – Friday

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

For ages 18 and under

Event

Level 4 Plays: LIVE

Level 4’s Mr. Hayden revisits some favorite games and introduces some new ones every Thursday in may at 5 pm. This activity will be live and interactive on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/Level4Teens

Level 4 events are intended for teens ages 12-19.

Event

Understanding Your Community’s Civic Health and What to Do About It

The second event in the series focuses on understanding a community’s civic health and the elements that contribute to a strong civic culture. What does the term “civic health” mean? What role can civic infrastructure play in bridging community divides and fostering engagement? What does civic engagement have to do with American democracy? How can Little Rock residents understand civic health of our own community and what can we do to make it stronger?

Event

CALS Writing Circle: Dream Journaling

Did you know that dreaming keeps us healthy? Or that most of us dream most of the time and just don’t remember our dreams on waking? Have you ever been curious about where your dreams come from or what they might mean? You don’t have to be a writer to get something out of this writing class!

Event

Crafting with Opal

This is a craft along program. In this program we teach different crafts which could include sewing, crocheting, knitting, painting & others.

This is a virtual program that the Nixon library does live on Facebook every Thursday (excluding holidays). Just click here to go to our Nixon Facebook page to watch.

Special Event
Event

The Intrepid Bourdain!

Inspired by Bourdain’s posthumous World Travel: An Irreverent Guide (published April 20), this loose tribute is a discussion of tastes, travels, and the man who brought us the best of both worlds. Anthony Bourdain (1946-2018) attained fame for his work as a chef, a writer of Kitchen ConfidentialMedium Raw

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Point of Interest

What’chu Eatin’ Wednesdays

food truck sign
Wednesday is arguably the saddest day of the week. It’s not called “Hump Day” for nothing. Thankfully, the Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square is launching a tasty new reason to visit the Library Square – What’chu Eatin’ Wednesdays! Every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until sold out) they’re hosting a new food truck.

Follow along on Facebook to get updates every week on the new tastes coming to downtown. Grab a burger from Minute Man one week or shrimp and grits from Low Ivy the next. What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with nachos from Nach’yo Nachos. There will be cheesecake and… pasta? From a food truck? Absolutely.

After your belly is full, take a quick lunchtime stroll through the galleries or browse the shelves of the bookstore. Downtown is back in business and we’re ready to see you!

If you’re a food truck owner and would like to set up, contact Lily Kauffman at 501.918.3090 or lkauffman@cals.org

Point of Interest

A Message from CALS

Dear Friends,

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!

Gratefully,

Nate Coulter
CALS Executive Director