A Back-to-School Message for Students and Parents

As a new school year begins, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) wishes to communicate to students and parents who are our frequent visitors after school about some of our current policies and procedures that may affect library visitors. We understand that this will be a significant change from how many students have utilized our branches and spaces after school in the past, but we hope you will understand that these systems are in place to maximize the safety of our staff and the public.

CALS locations are currently open for limited services, including browsing and computer reservations, at reduced hours across our system. However, with limited hours available and lower capacity to allow for social distancing, we recommend that you visit the website for the most up-to-date hours of operation.

In addition to requiring masks and asking some basic health screening questions upon entry, we are also limiting the number of people allowed in the building at a time in order to permit appropriate social distancing inside the facility. Children and youth under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and caregivers are expected to keep children with them at all times.

Several of our libraries continue to offer meals to children and teens, but these meals will be available as grab-and-go to be picked up outside our buildings and consumed off-site. We will be able to provide some printed activities for families to pick up to go along with these meals in addition to our virtual programming content available through our website, social media pages, and YouTube channels, but we are not able to provide in-person programming or activities at this time. Information about meal service times and locations is always available at

Students with library cards or CALS Tech Cards (available through participating schools) are always able to access our digital resources through the CALS Student Portal. There, students and parents can access our collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and music as well as a selection of tools for research, language learning, and more.

We hope all the students in our service area stay healthy and safe this school year, and we are looking forward to a time when we can resume our normal after-school activities and services.

We miss you!

Ellen Samples
Youth Services Coordinator