Events & Classes
CALS/BE MIGHTY LR/FOOD FOR GOOD
If you’re 18 and younger, we offer free shelf-stable meals M-F from 4-5:30 pm and from 11-12:30 pm on Saturday. Not available on Sundays, holidays, or during inclement weather.
Join us ALL March long for Virtual BingoFlix: Creatures from the 80s! Play bingo along to cheesy movie cliches during a virtual watch party for your chance to win a free movie pass to the theater once we reopen!
On Tuesday, March 2, join us for Invaders From Mars (1986,
February 12–May 1, 2021
CALS Roberts Library, Galleries at Library Square
“Blood and soil.” These words have been used by Nazis and others as a rallying cry for racial purity, one of the most destructive concepts ever developed. When they are used as materials for creative expression,
January 8 to April 24, 2021
CALS Underground Gallery
This exhibition showcases the sculptures and paintings of two of Arkansas’s outstanding artists. Sandra Sell explores the contrast and rhythmic tension inherent in carved wood, and Elizabeth Weber’s work explores the concepts of hidden growth and transformation.
The exhibition is on view to the public in the Roberts Library on Wednesday and Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday 12pm to 5pm from Friday,
Two ceramic artists, one gallery!
Limbs by Chris Swasta of Rolling Hills Pottery and Mascaron by Jennifer Perren
February 12–May 1, 2021
CALS Galleries at Library Square, Loft Gallery
This dual exhibition showcases vibrant ceramic artworks by two local artists and educators.
Six Bridges Book Festival presents: Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories
Moderator: Susan Petty Moneyhon
This event will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform. Free registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may sign up for Zoom and download the Zoom app at https://zoom.us/.
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