Libraries and Archives

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Arkansas Library Association

The Arkansas Library Association (ArLA) is a statewide organization created to further the professional development of all library staff members; to foster communication and cooperation among librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries; to increase the visibility of libraries among the general public and funding agencies; and to serve as an advocate for librarians and libraries. Organized on January 26, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the association was created as part of an effort to encourage the legislature to support increasing funding for public libraries. Led by the Little Rock Public Library and the Fort Smith Public Library, the new organization had additional members from Arkadelphia (Clark County), Conway (Faulkner County), Helena (Phillips County), and Waldron (Scott County). Early efforts …

Arkansas State Archives

aka: Arkansas History Commission
The Arkansas State Archives, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is the official state archives of Arkansas and houses the state’s largest collection of documents, publications, photographs, and other material relating to Arkansas history. The Arkansas History Commission, as the institution was originally named, was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1905 as part of the burgeoning state archives movement that swept the South shortly after 1900. It was created largely through the efforts of John Hugh Reynolds, a history professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). “The Commission exists,” Dallas T. Herndon, the first executive secretary and director wrote in 1911, the year the legislature finally appropriated funding for the commission, “to gather the …

Arkansas State Library

The Arkansas State Library (ASL) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is the state agency charged with the task of administering state and federal funds for Arkansas libraries and their development. The library also offers library services to the public and provides administration and leadership to improve public libraries and library services. The director of the agency has the title of state librarian. The Arkansas State Library was founded by the Arkansas Library Commission. This commission was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1935 through Act 139. However, state funds for operation were not provided until 1937. The ASL became a division in the Arkansas Department of Education through Act 489 in 1979. This transition allowed for the duties of …