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We honor the legacy of KOKY, Arkansas’s first radio station devoted to all-black programming aimed toward an African American audience, with photos, audio clips, and a panel discussion featuring KOKY on-air personalities such as Sonta Jean “The KOKY Queen,” Mark “Chillin’” Dylan, and Billy St. James, with moderator Broadway Joe Booker.
This movie is a part of our Movies of a Movement: the Civil Rights & Social Change Collection.
A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.
The sixteenth annual Arkansas Literary Festival will take place April 24-28, 2019.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin brings witty humor to dystopian satire of race relations in his debut novel
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin tells the story of an African-American father who is a successful lawyer in an alternative world that has discovered a surgical method for “demelanization.” For sufficient cash,
Enter Now for the Teen Poetry Contest at the Arkansas Literary Festival
Our annual Teen Poetry Contest has been a part of the Arkansas Literary Festival for years. Anyone who has seen the contest can tell you that watching the young writers present their work is memorable. The creativity, courage, and talent on display never fail to make an impression on the audience.
Our Gathering Place
As public library systems offer more and more digital resources to patrons, the image of libraries is changing, but the value of public libraries is not. Today, the public library is more essential to American culture than it has ever been before, as the library remains one of the enduring pillars of communal life in America. As sociologist Eric Klinenberg writes, “Building places where all kinds of people can gather is the best way to repair the fractured societies we live in today.”
A healthy, peaceful society is built on community connections, and people often seek and create those connections through public libraries. We go to club meetings, public lectures, business classes, movies, art exhibitions, and music concerts at CALS. And while we’re there, in the communal circle created by the library, we meet others who are different from ourselves. We bridge cultural gaps, learn through dialogue, and gain new understanding.
CALS patron Christa Abernathy-Meredith feels that the library provides a community environment where people can learn and grow. “My Girl Scout troop meets in the library,” she says. “I do crafting and cooking classes at the library. I attend [fan conventions] at libraries. It’s not just about the books.”
“What’s not to love about public libraries?” asks patron Michelle Mills. “I love the ease of getting any book I’d like, the spaces that can be used by the community, the access to computers & internet for anyone who needs it, the programs for kids & adults—so much to appreciate!”
This winter, a new coffee shop, the Nexus Nook, will open in the Main Library at Library Square. Like Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches in our Bookstore, this new space for sharing beverages, snacking, and relaxing will enhance the options for our patrons to make community connections and meet with others in our comfortable library setting. Every additional option for connecting serves a larger purpose when people venture out of their homes and find companionship, fun, and unexpected human rapport.
Here at CALS, we understand the crucial role that libraries play in our cities, our counties, and our civic culture. Whether CALS is hosting mayoral candidates in four of our branches or early voting in three additional branches—whether we are supporting local artists and musicians or helping local businesses or community clubs—we know that all our libraries are places for people to come together, share common interests, and learn from each other. And everybody is welcome here at the library, one of our strongest civic gathering places.
Central Arkansas Library System