Local libraries always turning new pages

The Fort Smith Main Library will be closed Aug. 9-11 for the replacement of the building’s air conditioning system. But Diane Holwick, assistant director, assures patrons that the three neighborhood branch libraries will be open; due dates for anything due during the closure will be automatically extended to Aug. 15; and access to Library2Go, hoopla, Kanopy, and the library’s online catalog will be limited for only a few hours on Aug. 10 when electricity is shut off at the Main Library. Internet access to the branch libraries will be limited only at this time.

The Fort Smith Public Library opened on July 27, 1892, in the Belle Grove school building. It was operated by the Fortnightly Club, Holwick explains, with Mary O’Toole Parker, wife of Judge Isaac Parker, serving as the club’s president, and Florence Clayton, wife of US Attorney Henry HH Clayton, as a founding member. The Main Library’s current location at 3201 Rogers Ave. celebrated its grand opening the weekend of Feb. 23-25, 2001.

The Dallas Street Branch Library is at 8100 Dallas Branch; the Miller Branch Library at 8701 S. 28th St.; and the Windsor Drive Branch Library at 4701 Windsor Drive.

Holwick says statistics have been a little hard to gather the last couple of years, but pre-pandemic, in 2019:

• 330,606 people visited a Fort Smith Public Library location;

• 384,464 items (books, DVDs, magazines, audiobooks, etc.) were checked out;

• 400-plus new library cards were issued each month;

• 238,075-plus questions were answered by library staff; and

• 233,794 computer sessions were logged by customers.

Just a few of the things happening in August at the Fort Smith libraries include:

Miller Branch Artist of the Month — Photographer Kerrie Taber’s interest in photography was born during the years she lived in Austin, exploring different areas of the hill country of Texas, capturing sunrises and sunsets over the lakes and hills of the area, as well as wildflowers and views. She recently relocated for employment with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Tiny Art Show — Wooden peg dolls on display at all locations, made from tiny art kits handed out in July.

Bottled Water Drive — A bottled water drive for the Day Room at Next Step Homeless Services will be held every month at all locations. Cases of individual-sized bottles (16 ounces) are preferred. The Next Step Homeless Services opened in Fort Smith in 2002 and remains a leader in homeless services in the community.

Game Day Saturday! — Come hang out, relax, and play a board game or two every Saturday during the month of August, 10 am-2 pm, Miller Branch Library.

Story Time — With the Fort Smith Fire Department, 10 am Aug. 10, Dallas Branch Library.

Author Visit — With Gayla McBride Edwards, author of “Frankie, Nancy, and Rose on the Mountain,” 1:30 pm Aug. 13, Main Library. The Genealogy and Arkansas History Department welcome Edwards, who will read a chapter from her book and discuss her writing process.

The Book Lover’s Club — Read a good book lately? Come share at The Book Lover’s Club, 10 am Aug. 18, Main Library. The Book Lover’s Club meets the third Thursday of every month.

Crochet and Tell — Have you finished a crochet project? Show it off during Crochet & Tell, 2 pm Aug. 18, Main Library.

Adult Recess: Index Card Art — Stretch your creative muscles with index card art, 11am-12:30pm Aug. 25, Windsor Branch Library.

Friends of the Library Annual Used Book Sale — Non-Fiction, 10 am-5 pm Aug. 27 & 1-5 pm Aug. 28, Main Library. Proceeds from the sale are used to buy library materials and fund special events and projects.

CB to You Mobile Art Lab — Thank You Celebration with Crystal Bridges Museum partner artist and local educator Lynette Thrower, who will be at the Main Library and will help guests create and design a decorative time capsule to take home, 3-6 pm Aug 30, Main Library.

For information, visit fortsmithlibrary.org or follow the library on social media at www.facebook.com/fortsmithlibrary; www.instagram.com/fortsmithlibrary; and www.youtube.com/fortsmithpubliclibrary.

Wooden peg dolls of book characters stand atop a bookshelf as part of a monthlong Tiny Art Show hosted at all the Fort Smith Public Library locations. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.