A Word from the Center by David Stricklin, Director of the Butler Center

by David Stricklin, director of the Butler Center

The signs are up. The re-dedication has happened. It’s really, really official. We are in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art in Library Square, what we used to call the Main Library Campus of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). You can see here a painting by Little Rock artist John Kushmaul, showing the northwest corner of the Roberts Library and the new sign showing the new name of the building at our main entrance at 401 President Clinton Avenue. John is widely known as a gifted interpreter of the Little Rock streetscape, and we were pleased he agreed to do two new paintings of the building, one for the CALS permanent art collection and one for Bobby.

On April 5, CALS hosted President Bill Clinton for a two-pronged event in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater next door to us at Library Square. The president gave the inaugural Maurice Smith Distinguished Lecture and helped mark the naming of the Roberts Library. As former Clinton gubernatorial staff members, Bobby and CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter both told stories about serving the people of Arkansas and having often hair-raising experiences while traveling with then-Governor Clinton, who was famous for calmly working crossword puzzles and sipping soft drinks in small airplanes slicing through ice storms and such. It was great to have the president for the occasion, and great to have the remarkable organizational work of Sheila Bronfman, who did a million things to pull the event together. Sheila is especially famous for organizing the intrepid groups of Clinton political campaigners known as the Arkansas Travelers. I often think that if she had been around in 1943 and ’44, Dwight Eisenhower would have outsourced the organization of D-Day to Sheila. It would have come in several days earlier, probably sometime in May, and probably under budget. And the weather would have been nicer. A lot of other people helped with our event, including especially CALS’s Cathy Sanders, Rosslyn Elliott, Madelyn Ganos, Glenn Whaley, Joey Cole, Grayson Martin, and Mary Osteen. Thanks, everyone.

Thanks also to the many people who gave money on the occasion. You can see their names on page 9 of this eBanner, and you can join the growing ranks of CALS supporters and pick out a great CALS thing to support by going to the CALS website and clicking on Donate. CALS gets funding from property taxes. The Library part of the millage paid by the average property owner is pretty small, and we do a lot to multiply the benefits of that funding for the people in our service area in Pulaski and Perry counties. It’s a great investment in the future strength and vitality of Central Arkansas, and we hope people who are able will help us stay strong and vital by giving a little extra. Use that link above and help CALS do great things!

And come see us in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art in Library Square!




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