CALS Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art

The Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art is the special collections branch of the Central Arkansas Library System. It houses the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and the Galleries at Library Square.

The mission of the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art is to engage the people of Central Arkansas in meaningful conversations about our rich history and artistic heritage and its impact on our present.

CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies was created in 1997 through an endowment by the late Richard C. Butler Sr. for the purpose of promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of Arkansas history, literature, art, and culture. The Butler Center manuscript collections and genealogy resources are available on the 2nd floor of the CALS Roberts Library.

What is an archive?

Archives hold records of the human experience. Here at the Roberts Library, the focus is on Central Arkansas, with records including letters, documents, posters, photographs, sound recordings, video recordings, and–increasingly–digital records. At the Roberts Library, trained archivists preserve, organize, and provide access to these important materials so that we can explore our past and learn from it.

CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a free, authoritative source of information about the rich history, geography, and culture of Arkansas. It is updated regularly to ensure the people of Arkansas have an accurate and accessible resource to explore our heritage. It will also benefit people outside the state who are seeking information about Arkansas. We invite you to browse our text entries and media galleries to learn more about the people, places, events, legends, and lore of the 25th state. The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a work in progress. We are continually adding new entries, photographs, maps, videos, and audio files, so check back frequently to see what’s new.

CALS Galleries at Library Square

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.