Friends of the Library Week

A woman, Barbara Soden, standing in front of the Maumelle Library branch
Barbara Soden standing in front of the Maumelle Library branch

Friends of the Library Week is October 16 – 22. “Friends of the Library” are individuals who purchase annual memberships and those dues go toward funding some important programming, like the book festival, book club kits and some of the Arkansas Sounds Concerts. At the Central Arkansas Library System, we call them Friends of CALS.

Membership perks include discounts on gently read books and early access to the Friends of CALS book sales. Currently there are 514 Friends of CALS members. Additionally, many of the Friends of CALS members are also volunteers who give back to the community by donating their time. At CALS, we have 450 active volunteers who participate in events across the system and throughout the year. We are so thankful for our dedicated Friends of CALS members. We were able to talk to Barbara Soden who has been involved with Friends of CALS since 2017.

Barbara, tell us a bit about yourself:
I am the current President of the Friends of CALS and a volunteer.  I’ve been on the Board since 2017 and have learned so many new things and met so many wonderful people.  The library, to me, has always been a place of enlightenment and fun for most of my life.  Volunteering was the next step and I’m glad I took it.

What do you do as a volunteer?
I became a board member when the Librarian at the Maumelle branch (Pam Rudkin) asked me if I would be interested.  My husband had recently passed away and I needed a new challenge to keep me grounded.  It has been a new learning experience and has opened all kinds of possibilities for me

What made you become a volunteer/board member?
Currently I volunteer at the Bobby Roberts Gallery on Friday mornings and whenever or wherever they can use me.  The book sales and the Six Bridges Book Festival are two of my favorites.  After not having a book sale for two years, it was amazing to see the faces on the people when we opened the doors.  Knowing how much these people love the sales and the array of books we have it was a good feeling for all of us.

What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a volunteer?
If you think you would like to try volunteering, just contact the library and they will get you connected.  It’s fun, interesting and a new way to meet people and have new experiences.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Cuba by Ada Ferrer.  It’s about the Cuban missile crisis in 1961 and all that has gone on in the last 60 years.  It should be interesting reading.


Anyone interested in becoming a Friends of CALS Member can do so here. And if you would like to volunteer, email or fill out this form here.