CALS Storm Recovery Resources
March 31, 2023, was a difficult day for our state. Severe weather and tornadoes have left many of us without shelter and vital resources. The CALS team is here to assist those impacted. While thousands of our neighbors are still without power, we hope to provide opportunities for our patrons and friends in the community to access these critical services. If you have any questions, please call the Main Library at 501-918-3000. Our staff is always ready.
Join our “Issues that Matter” discussion on Storm Recovery via zoom on May 18. Register here.
Letter from Nate Coulter, CALS Executive Director
The storms that tore through our community last Friday were the worst we have seen here since 1999. The path of destruction was, by some accounts, 34 miles long, stretching from just west of I-430 in west Little Rock all the way to the river and into North Little Rock, Sherwood, and Jacksonville. It gashed homes, businesses, and livelihoods. Sadly, it claimed one life in central Arkansas.
But just as quickly as Mother Nature reminded us of her fury by knocking down trees and power lines, people rallied with food and supplies, chainsaws, and helping hands. Friends reported that over the weekend there were at times more volunteers showing up in the hardest hit neighborhoods offering to help than there were opportunities to put them to work.
The public library is eager to lend a hand by offering essential services and resourceful librarians who are part of this community; staff who want to help rebuild our neighborhoods and make sure aid gets to those who need it most. If you need a place to fill up water bottles, charge your electronics, access computers or printers, host meetings or gatherings, or simply need to be in a safe place with electricity, the Library is open and we’re here for you.
We have services to help with your immediate as well as long-term needs. Until further notice, all faxing, scanning, and printing can be done free of charge. Free notary service is available at most branches and our Digital Literacy Guides are here to assist with your technological needs. Our Community Resources team can help you connect with organizations that offer aid for basic needs and mental health during this stressful time. If you find yourself with damage around the house and need access to tools, the Tool Library at Dee Brown has an assortment of devices including automotive, electrical, yard work, and safety equipment. We have deployed our able crew of CALS maintenance and groundskeeping staff to assist certain areas where there is still a need for chainsaws and debris removal. And through Be Mighty, the community has access to meals and snacks; 10 CALS branches have Little Free Pantries that contain shelf-stable food as well as hygiene items that can be accessed anytime.
Additionally, CALS is a place where people can share their stories and experiences. The “History As It Happens” series through Roberts Library is a virtual space to gather information, photos, and videos to create a complete picture of recent events.
We will continue to offer our services within our walls but also volunteer in clean-up efforts and bring our mobile services to the hardest hit communities when possible. So, whether you need something for work or school, papers for your insurance, tools, electricity, or help navigating the web to find the most up-to-date information about available resources, we will do our best to be here or there for you.
Resources available at CALS branches
For our patrons impacted by the recent storms we are offering free print and copy services until May 1 and free fax service until September 1 to assist you through this disaster. As always, we have plenty of staff members ready to help you navigate this difficult time.
Additionally, CALS branches offer
CALS Mobile Digital Service
Services on the Van: Portable station to charge your small devices, Wi-Fi, laptops, flash drives for documents.
Date and Times: Taking requests from those effected by the tornado and organizations assisting with recovery. Ex. neighborhoods, community centers, volunteer sites, feeding sites, etc.
Contact: Jessica McDaniel, 501-320-5784. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What to Expect: Once you reach out to Jessica, we will work with you to coordinate a time for the outreach van to visit your requested site with resources listed. Please keep in mind, there might be conflicts with scheduling, but we will try to accommodate the best we can. Nothing is needed except site location, point of contact and a phone number for Digital Team to reach out to upon their arrival.
Resources outside of CALS
Help CALS document Arkansas’s March 31, 2023 Tornado Outbreak
Please do not venture into affected areas for the purpose of photographing or taking video. It causes congestion and prevents necessary workers from getting into the area for clean up and repair.
Saving Memories: Photo Digitization for Tornado Survivors
If you have been affected by the recent tornadoes and would like to preserve your important photos and mementos, let us help!