Just over 100 years ago, a Carnegie library was founded in Little Rock as the first Public Library. After ebbing and flowing in two different locations on Louisiana Street in downtown, it has now blossomed into the Central Arkansas Library System.
In addition to the Main Library, which was a catalyst for the redevelopment of the River Market District, there are currently eleven other branches in Little Rock, other parts of Pulaski County, and one in neighboring Perry County.
Not content with merely being a place for people to check out books, CALS also houses the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, the Cox Creative Center, the Darragh Center, the Arkansas Studies Institute, Butler Center Books and the Arkansas Literary Festival. Among the annual programs presented by CALS are the Rabbi Ira Sanders Lecture, and the Booker Worthen Literary Prize.
Under the leadership of Dr. Bobby Roberts, CALS has become a living, breathing entity with dynamic programming for patrons from pre-school to well-seasoned. A perfect example is that on October 27 at the Main Library there is a Halloween costume contest for kids as well as a lecture entitled “Was There Really a Female Pope?”