CALS Announces Organizational Changes at Roberts Library

This spring, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) unveiled a new strategic plan effective through 2022. The CALS strategic plan describes the library system’s mission, core values, and vision while also identifying goal areas where CALS will direct its energy and resources over the next several years.

The Roberts Library is CALS special collections branch composed of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Genealogy Department, and the Galleries at Library Square.

Beginning October 1, two key changes took place at Roberts Library in alignment with the strategic plan: Director of the Roberts Library David Stricklin will become Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement for the CALS system as a whole, where he will help guide the implementation of the Strategic Plan and strengthen relationships with governments, elected officials, community leaders and centers of influence; and Glenn Whaley will serve as Manager of the Roberts Library, expanding her role as operational leader for the past five years.

“The staffing changes will allow the library to benefit more from the unique gifts of two talented leaders,” said CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter. “David will be invaluable in driving the strategic evolution of our organization, and Glenn has already demonstrated her organizational and management skills as second-in-command of the Roberts Library. She’ll be an excellent leader to continue the vital and important work being done by the Roberts Library team.”

The CALS strategic plan is the result of broad-based community input, executive team engagement, consultation from national library planning experts, and board review and approval. The plan outlines seven organizational goals in the areas of (1) Extending Community Connections, (2) Services and Collections, (3) Facilities and Spaces, (4) Resource Allocation and Integration, (5) Public Awareness and Marketing, (6) Resource Development, and (7) Organizational Culture.

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – CALS renames Ark. Studies Institute for Bobby Roberts

As the chronological countdown of 18 cultural events from 2018 starts —

In January it was announced that the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) had renamed the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in honor of the former CALS executive director who served in the position for more than twenty years before retiring in 2016.

“Bobby established a new normal at CALS by creating new concepts of what the public library could offer the community and by constructing unique spaces to make the library more appealing and accessible to all sorts of groups with varied interests in learning, enrichment, and entertainment,” said Nate Coulter, CALS executive director. “The library’s primary purpose has always been to provide access to information, but Bobby transformed and expanded what it means to be a library by placing a particular emphasis on Arkansas history and culture.”

Since the early 1990s, CALS has undergone several changes and expansions, now consisting of fourteen library locations in Little Rock, Perryville, and throughout Pulaski County. The Main Library moved from its original location at 7th and Louisiana to its current home in the River Market District, which helped trigger the revitalization of downtown Little Rock. That Main Library is now the centerpiece of a campus that includes the Ron Robinson Theater, the Cox Creative Center, and the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art (formerly ASI).

Roberts’s efforts in building striking library structures, in ecologically sustainable construction, and in adaptive reuse have been recognized by local, state, national, and international organizations. That includes the newly named Roberts Library. Opened in 2009, as the Arkansas Studies Institute, the structure houses the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, CALS’s Arkansas history department, and five galleries that feature art depicting the state or created by artists living in or from Arkansas.

“This complex of buildings certainly wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Bobby Roberts. It is truly fitting for this edifice to be named in his honor,” said David Stricklin, director of the Butler Center.

Roberts’s special interests in Arkansas history and art and CALS’s long-held practice of collecting materials for the benefit of patrons interested in those topics helped inspire the conception of the ASI, which also houses the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture. The university’s Arkansas-related documents and photographs were moved to the facility and are available for public use under an arrangement Roberts developed with former UA Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson. The building is also home to the Arkansas Humanities Council’s headquarters and classrooms and offices for the Clinton School of Public Service.

Later in the year, CALS rebranded its downtown campus of buildings as Library Square, unveiled a new website, and started a strategic planning process.

CALS renames Ark Studies Institute for former Director Bobby Roberts

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has renamed the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in honor of the former CALS executive director who served in the position for more than twenty years before retiring in 2016. CALS Board of Trustees approved the motion in December.

“Bobby established a new normal at CALS by creating new concepts of what the public library could offer the community and by constructing unique spaces to make the library more appealing and accessible to all sorts of groups with varied interests in learning, enrichment, and entertainment,” said Nate Coulter, CALS executive director. “The library’s primary purpose has always been to provide access to information, but Bobby transformed and expanded what it means to be a library by placing a particular emphasis on Arkansas history and culture.”

Since the early 1990s, CALS has undergone several changes and expansions, now consisting of fourteen library locations in Little Rock, Perryville, and throughout Pulaski County. The Main Library moved from its original location at 7th and Louisiana to its current home in the River Market District, which helped trigger the revitalization of downtown Little Rock. That Main Library is now the centerpiece of a campus that includes the Ron Robinson Theater, the Cox Creative Center, and the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art (formerly ASI). Former CALS Board members spoke of Roberts’s leadership and his vision for the library system. Susan Fleming and Sheila Wright, former board vice-president and president, respectively, said Roberts’s vision and commitment to excellence are reflected in the building that will be displaying his name. Former CALS board member Frederick Ursery expanded on their thoughts:

“Our library system has been fortunate throughout its history to have strong leadership from numerous members of our community,” said Ursery. “However, I am not aware of any single person who has done more than Bobby Roberts to make CALS the dynamic asset that it is today. He deserves to be recognized for his achievement.”

Roberts’s efforts in building striking library structures, in ecologically sustainable construction, and in adaptive reuse have been recognized by local, state, national, and international organizations. That includes the newly named Roberts Library. Opened in 2009, as the Arkansas Studies Institute, the structure houses the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, CALS’s Arkansas history department, and five galleries that feature art depicting the state or created by artists living in or from Arkansas.

“This complex of buildings certainly wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Bobby Roberts. It is truly fitting for this edifice to be named in his honor,” said David Stricklin, director of the Butler Center.

Roberts’s special interests in Arkansas history and art and CALS’s long-held practice of collecting materials for the benefit of patrons interested in those topics helped inspire the conception of the ASI, which also houses the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture. The university’s Arkansas-related documents and photographs were moved to the facility and are available for public use under an arrangement Roberts developed with former UA Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson. The building is also home to the Arkansas Humanities Council’s headquarters and classrooms and offices for the Clinton School of Public Service.

Charlotte Schexnayder Brings Salt to Legacies & Lunch

legaciesschexnayderCharlotte Tillar Schexnayder has been called a “salty old editor,” and she is indeed worth her salt. She will be interviewed about her life and work in the Arkansas Delta by David Stricklin, manager of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, at Legacies & Lunch on Wednesday, April 2, at noon in the Main Library’s Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street.

Schexnayder has been an influential voice in the life and politics of the Delta, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and a pioneer among women in the professions of politics and journalism. She and her husband, Melvin, owned the Dumas Clarion newspaper for many years. Schexnayder has served as president of every professional journalism organization she has joined, including the National Federation of Press Women and the National Newspaper Association, and she was the first female president of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce.

Copies of her memoir, Salty Old Editor, published by Butler Center Books in 2012, will be available for sale at the program or may be purchased from River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Avenue, or online at http://www.uapress.com. Schexnayder will sign books after her program.

Legacies & Lunch is free, open to the public, and supported in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Programs are held from noon-1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, contact 918-3033.