30 Ways to Enjoy The Library From Home

CALS buildings are closed, schools are out, and we’re all doing our best to practice social distancing. But the CALS digital branch is always open. Here are 30 things – some binge-worthy, some brief – you can do from home right now.  Return to this page as we’ll be adding content as long as we’re all trying to library from home.

Be a Part of History

Our community is in the midst of a historic event. Future generations will want to know how we lived through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.The CALS Butler Center encourages members of our Central Arkansas community to document their experiences during this time of crisis. We are looking for diaries, photographs, poetry, oral history interviews, artwork, video, etc.
How are you spending these days? How has your life been affected? Share those details with us here.
Submit Your Story >

LeadersAREaders Storytime

Leaders from across the state of Arkansas are sharing their favorite children’s books in a special storytime series we call LeadersAREaders. Check it out on our CALS Kids YouTube channel.
CALS Kids YouTube >

Fishin’ or Stargazin’

Fishing and stargazing are both great outdoor activities that can be enjoyed while also observing social distancing guidelines. CALS cardholders may check out telescopes, provided through a partnership with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society, and fishing poles, provided through a partnership with Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. All for free! Contact your favorite branch to learn more about these items and check for availability.

Follow The Yarn, a Little Rock Reading Collective

CALS is pleased to begin a partnership with The Yarn, the Little Rock-based storytelling organization. Beginning with their 2020-21 season, we will supply lists of books and other wonderful things from the great CALS collection that go along with the themes of the shows The Yarn produces. But we wanted to do a little preview now, calling back an earlier show. We hope you enjoy it, and we hope you’ll check out some of these items from CALS.
Learn More >

Arts and Crafts Time

Put down the remote and pick up a pencil, pen, knitting needles, a crochet hook … you get the point. Time for arts and crafts!
Find a Book Now >

Get Some Shelf Help

By now you may be running out of ideas for which book to read next and in need of a recommendation. The librarians at CALS are here for you with a service called Shelf Help. Just fill out a form to let them know what kind of books you like and they’ll reply with a personalized list of your next favorite books.
Get Shelf Help Now

Formulas, Charts, Data Validation, Oh My!

Pump up your office productivity with a free Microsoft Excel online class Thursday, April 16, led by the Central Arkansas Library System’s own digital literacy specialist, Nathan Smith. We’ll use the easy Zoom app to conduct class. Please register in advance to reserve a seat and receive your Zoom password by email.
Register Now

Research Your Family’s Military History at Fold3

Fold3 provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. The records at Fold3 help you discover and share stories about these everyday heroes, forgotten soldiers, and the families that supported them.
Go to Fold3 Now

Update Your Resumé

Now may be a good time to create or update your resumé. Cypress Resumé is a free service for CALS cardholders which allows you to create a professional resumé, cover letter, and references list quickly by simply entering basic information about yourself.
Go to Cypress Resume Now

Organize Your Living Space

Do you feel like you should be using your time for Spring cleaning and organization but don’t know where to begin? Check out one of these audiobooks and begin decluttering and organizing today!
Download an Audiobook Now

Discover Your Family History

Genealogists and family history sleuths, celebrate! For a limited time, Ancestry Library Edition is available to CALS library cardholders from home. To obtain access, contact CALS at 918-3000 or calsinfo@cals.org. Once your cardholder status has been verified, CALS staff will email you a link and password which will permit you to access Ancestry from home.
Get Ancestry Access Now

Join the NEA Big Read

Join us online for an open virtual discussion of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, moderated by Dr. Alex Vernon. Thanks to a grant from NEA Big Read, unlimited free copies of the e-book are available for you to download through April 23. We’ll use the easy Zoom app so we can enjoy each other’s virtual company. Register in advance on this page to receive your Zoom password by email.

Watch a Concert from the Comfort of Your Sofa

Included in CALS’s RBDigital service is Stingray Qello, the world’s largest collection of full-length concerts and music documentaries streamed on-demand to just about any digital device. Free with your CALS library card.
Watch a Concert Now

Learn Your Next Career’s Necessary Skills

Universal Class is an online learning platform that allows you to take courses at your own pace while you interact with a live instructor via email.
Try Universal Class Now

Begin Cooking for the Holidays

Pastries, Roasts, Side Dishes, oh my! Take advantage of the time available at home by trying some new recipes for this holiday season.
Download a Holiday Cookbook Now

Take the #FaveBookChallenge

Can you convince someone to read your favorite book in 30 seconds or less? Take a video of yourself with your pitch for your “Fave Book”, then post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the tag #FaveBookChallenge. Be sure to challenge a friend or loved one to post their Fave Book pitch, too.
See How It’s Done

Learn a New Digital Skillset with Hoonuit

Whether it is adjusting to a telecommute or just sharing digital socially-distant moments with friends and family, we’re all discovering the gaps in our 21st century skillset these days. CALS has a new, free-to-cardholders service through RBDigital: Hoonuit offers online how-to training on hundreds of common software applications and devices, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Docs, and iPad. Learn More

Reflect on the Past

Heather Register Zbinden will discuss the incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Her talk will highlight writings and works of art produced by Japanese Americans at Arkansas’s incarceration camps at Rohwer and Jerome, and her work with the Rosalie Santine Gould–Mabel Jamison Vogel collection held by the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. This event will LIVE on Facebook Wednesday, April 1, at noon. A recording of the event will be available on the Roberts Library Facebook page and the CALS YouTube page afterword.

Learn to Read, Read to Learn

Bookflix’s thematically paired fiction and nonfiction titles are designed to bridge learning-to-read and reading-to-learn. Animated classic storybooks introduce early learners to the delights of reading while sparking curiosity, creating a natural springboard into the paired nonfiction text for deeper discovery. With Bookflix, children can build early literacy skills while also building curiosity and knowledge. Free to CALS cardholders. Try Bookflix Now

Be an Informed At-Home Consumer

Today’s Consumer Reports delivers all the product tests and reviews we’ve come to expect, but it also offers invaluable consumer information for everyone acclimating to the pace, size, and interconnectedness of the modern economic and social experience. This service may just become a daily read for you. Free to cardholders.

Watch a Storytime on CALS Kids YouTube Channel

Several Central Arkansas Library System branches are posting made-from-home storytime videos for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Go to our CALS Kids YouTube page to view them and, if you subscribe, receive notifications when new videos are posted.
Go to CALS Kids on YouTube

Learn a New Language with Mango

Mango Languages provides language learning experiences with step by step lesson plans for 71 different languages. This database features ESL (English as Second Language) lessons for over 16 languages along with a text translator. First time users must create a profile in order to use the resource.
Mango Languages is provided via Traveler Access, a project made possible by a grant from U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Arkansas State Library under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. Additional state funds were provided by the Arkansas Department of Education.
Start of New Language Now

Free Music. Free Music. Free Music

CALS digital music library is provided by Freegal, a service from Library Ideas. Freegal allows patrons to sign in with their library card number and PIN, download up to five songs per week, or stream unlimited music all day long.
Downloaded songs are in MP3 format, work with any music-playing device or software, and once you download the songs, you own them, forever!

Learn a Little Arkansas History

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies hosts Legacies & Lunch, a free program celebrating Arkansas History and Culture. Many of these events are archived on the CALS YouTube channel. Subscribe to the channel to receive notifications of new videos.
View Legacies & Lunch Now

Go Back to College

The Great Courses Library Collection, part of the RBDigtal content platform, features complete courses delivered by an international roster of professors via video lecture on subjects like Science, Health & Wellness, History, the Arts, Politics, Philosophy, Food & Wine, and much more.

Read an eBook with Overdrive & Libby

Did you know CALS has thousands of ebooks and audiobooks? With just a few taps, you can borrow them, instantly, for free, using any computer or just the device in your hand. Download your selection for offline reading or stream your content to save space. And, best of all, there are never any late fees, as all titles are returned automatically on their due date.

Vote for a Book Boyfriend

He’s thoughtful. He’s hot. He takes out the trash without being asked. Clearly, this dream guy doesn’t exist…except in books. The Six Bridges Book Festival has rounded up some of the best book boyfriends in the library and we want you to choose a winner.

Listen to an audiobook with RBDigital

With RBDigital, CALS cardholders may choose from over 30,000 digital audiobooks, with choices in all genres and for all audiences. Easily download books by your favorite authors for offline listening or stream them to save space on your computer or mobile device.

Browse the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

There is no aspect of Arkansas’s rich history and culture that can’t be found in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. From famous people and notable landmarks to the geographical data and cultural phenomena that make the Natural State unique, you can easily while away an afternoon browsing the 6,000+ entries published to date.

Read a Magazine Without a Subscription

Browse the latest issue of popular magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Essence, People, Rolling Stone, TIME, Vanity Fair, and more with Flipster. Downloading each issue is free and easy and reading may be done on your computer or through an app for your favorite mobile device.