The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has been listed as a Star Library in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. The index measures the service levels of the nation’s 7,153 public libraries, based on circulation, visits, Internet use, and program attendance. CALS, with a total score of 773, was one of only twenty Southern libraries to receive the Star recognition.
Rankings were based on 2009 data released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in July, 2011. CALS is listed twenty-fifth out of 107 libraries that fall within an expenditure range of $10 million to $29.9 million. In 2009 CALS’s budget was $13,750,000.
Since opening as the Little Rock Public Library in 1910, CALS has added branches and services, evolving to meet the needs of patrons and becoming one of the largest systems in the mid-South. Innovations such as the bookmobile service that began in 1938 gave way to branch libraries, interlibrary loan, and online access to information. Though many libraries are seeing reduction in funding, circulation and attendance, CALS has had twelve years of increases in circulation and attendance, and because funding sources are tied to property taxes, has not had to reduce service or staff.
Director Bobby Roberts states, “It is an honor to have our work acknowledged by such a prestigious magazine as Library Journal. I believe CALS is the best library system in the South because the taxpayers have approved the funds to allow us to provide excellent service and resources that our patrons want and need.”
The Main Library campus offers an extensive Reference department, computer lab, specialized Arkansas research resources, art galleries, a used book store, two cafés, and a new area specially designed to accommodate the needs and interests of teens.
CALS libraries in Little Rock include:
- Main Library, 100 Rock Street
- Dee Brown Library, 6325 Baseline Road
- Fletcher Library, 823 North Buchanan Street
- Oley E. Rooker Library, 11 Otter Creek Court
- Terry Library, 2015 Napa Valley Drive
- Thompson Library, 38 Rahling Circle
- Williams Library, 1800 Chester Street
- McMath Library, 2100 John Barrow Road.
- CALS also has branches in Jacksonville, Maumelle, Perryville and Sherwood.