As the state’s largest free-standing facility dedicated to the study of Arkansas, the CALS Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art houses the following: five art galleries that make up the Galleries at Library Square, a world-class genealogy and archival research room, the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and a number of public meeting spaces. The building, which is itself a historical timeline that features architecture from three centuries and displays image panels inside and outside featuring Arkansans throughout history, is open to the public Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission is free.
The Galleries at Library Square feature the work of Arkansas artists, including rotating exhibitions and shows by local Arkansas artists as well as artists from Arkansas who have made an impact on the national and international art scene. Works from the Central Arkansas Library System’s permanent art collection are also displayed regularly. The Retail Gallery offers a wide selection of items by Arkansas artists and artisans—ceramics, greeting cards, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, and more—that make perfect souvenirs to remember a trip to Arkansas or gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or no reason at all.
The CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, along with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture, cares for and makes accessible to the public more than 10 million documents and photographs on Arkansas history. Using these materials in the 2nd floor Research Room in the Roberts Library, students, genealogists, and anyone interested in Arkansas history can learn more about the people, places, and events that form the state’s past and guide its future. The archival collections include items related to the Civil War, Arkansas governors and first families, the Japanese American internment camps located in southeastern Arkansas during World War II, and life in Central Arkansas over the generations.
Researchers can also view the rotating exhibits that highlight items from the CALS Butler Center’s manuscript collection and then spend the day delving into the extensive collection of genealogy books. All levels of genealogy researchers can explore their family history in the Research Room using CALS’s subscription to Ancestry.com and other databases. Highly trained genealogists, historians, librarians, and archivists can help researchers get started on their journey or find creative ways to move past a family history road block.
Stop by the Roberts Library to explore our galleries, pick up a piece of one-of-a-kind art, or find your roots!