Williams Library Sets Closing Date for Renovation  

Williams Library Sets Closing Date for Renovation   
Sue Cowan Williams Library to close next month until early 2024

Little Rock, AR – The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has announced that Sue Cowan Williams Library, 1800 Chester St., will be closing for renovations beginning next month. AMR Architects is overseeing the renovation at Williams and anticipates the project to be completed within four to six months. Williams Library’s last day of operations before renovations begin is November 3.

“I’m thrilled about the upcoming renovations to Williams Library and how these changes will us better connect with residents of the Dunbar Neighborhood Historic District,” said Latina Sheard, Branch Manager of Williams Library. “We’re enhancing the library experience by creating dedicated quiet spaces for our adult patrons while offering our younger visitors a more comfortable area for exploration.”

The Little Rock School District is allowing CALS to continue working with neighborhood students by providing rent-free use of three empty classrooms at Dunbar Middle School for after-school programs. This space will be available on days when school is in session, 4-7 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Fridays. As this coincides with Main Library’s closure, CALS is encouraging any Williams patrons who need assistance during that period to contact or visit “Mini Main” in the Roberts Library or Children’s Library as those are the two closest branches.

Gonzalo Hernandez, the Interim Director of Operations at CALS, said, “During the project, we’ll be using a shipping container to store as much furniture as we can accommodate. Instead of taking out the shelving and books, we’ll carefully relocate them from room to room as we renovate the flooring.”

Once reopened, patrons can expect to find new flooring, a more colorful interior, a teaching kitchen space that will be added to the community room, and updated restrooms. The largest change will come from the moving of the public entrance, this allows for the opportunity to reorient the entire footprint of the library and create a dedicated kids and teen area. Additional staff space will be created by the addition of a mezzanine.

Renovations for both Williams and Main were made possible because of a successful 2022 referendum in Little Rock that authorized the extension and reduction of the capital-improvement millage. Renderings can be found here. For more information about Williams Library, contact Latina Sheard at lsheard@cals.org or 501.376.4282, or follow along with updates at cals.org/workatwilliams.