CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas Turns 15

The Central Arkansas Library System’s Encyclopedia of Arkansas is celebrating 15 years as one of the most trusted resources for information about Arkansas’s history and culture. In celebration of the EOA’s fifteenth anniversary, this month’s Legacies & Lunch, May 5 at noon, will feature historian William H. Pruden III to discuss “Lessons in Learning: The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas & One Man’s Journey into the World of Arkansas History.” CALS will also issue a series of blog and social media posts highlighting staff picks for favorite entries and media and the 15 most popular entries, among other high points of the EOA’s 15-year history.

“It’s amazing to look back to 2006 and see the growth and progress we’ve made over the years,” said Guy Lancaster, editor of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. “We are continually adding new entries, photographs, maps, and more to maintain the quality, accuracy and relevance of the content. We’re also fortunate to work with authors like Bill who are excited about Arkansas history.”

Pruden is the director of civic engagement, a college counselor and an instructor in history and social studies at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has contributed over 250 entries to the EOA and has also contributed chapters to books on a number of American history topics as well as dozens of items in other historical encyclopedias and reference works.

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas debuted online to the public on May 2, 2006. At that time, it contained approximately 700 entries and 900 pieces of media; today, the site offers more than 6,000 entries and almost 10,000 pieces of media. Entries have been written by more than 1,600 different authors – volunteers from students to professors to local historians. The site has more than one million visitors annually, with users from every continent and more than 230 countries. A definitive, comprehensive and accurate record of America’s twenty-fifth state, it’s often cited by historians, journalists, teachers, students, and others seeking to understand and appreciate Arkansas’s heritage.

“When searching for Arkansas-related content online, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas is one of the top results. It’s quite a feat, especially considering it’s the only state encyclopedia in the country to be produced by a library system,” said Lancaster.

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has received numerous awards, including the 2009 Diamond Award from the Arkansas Historical Association. In 2013, the EOA was named a Notable Government Document of 2012 by the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association.

For more information about the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas, visit or call 501-320-5700.