Opened in 2009, as the Arkansas Studies Institute, the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art is housed in three buildings from three centuries– two restored historical buildings and one new building. Visitors can explore family history; browse the retail and exhibit galleries of Arkansas artwork, crafts, and gifts; enjoy a meal or cold drink, and view more than 100 photographic image panels depicting life in Arkansas from frontier days to modern times. The facilities also provide space for UA Little Rock classes, community lectures, and events.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) and the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), have created the state’s largest facility dedicated to the study of Arkansas history and culture in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art building.
The collections are managed by the two institutions’ respective departments:
The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of CALS, 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.
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Since 1978, the mission of the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture has been to collect and make available resources on Arkansas history and the region. These materials include letters, legal documents, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, pamphlets, books, journals, newspapers, and other materials. In total, the collections comprise about 10,000 linear feet, 70,000+ images, and approximately 8,000 books.
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Count Pulaski Way is named in honor of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish-born hero of the American Revolution, for whom Pulaski County is named. Count Pulaski Way is an innovative, dual-purpose open space that serves both automobiles and pedestrians. The Way consists of two alleys, a rebuilt portion of Rock Street that is reminiscent of early stone roads, and the lower Arkansas River Valley Walking Map.
One of the most striking features of the building is a series of 4-foot by 4- foot acrylic panels that present a visual history of Arkansas. These panels are featured on the exterior of the building as well as throughout the interior.
CALS has been actively involved in revitalizing the River Market District. Both the Main Library and the Bookstore at Library Square on the campus were rehabilitated, and development of the Roberts Library continues that tradition by renovating two historic buildings on President Clinton Avenue:
Porbeck & Bowman Building (1882). This building was owned by William Probst and Max Hilb, two German immigrants who owned a wholesale grocery and liquor distributorship. The original building included a two-story upper floor that was home to the Concordia Association, a Jewish social club.
Geyer & Adams Building (1914). John E. Geyer and John Dudley Adams operated a wholesale grocery distributorship at this location. In 1914, they replaced an older building with this structure, designed by Charles Thompson.
In addition to the Porbeck & Bowman and Geyer & Adams buildings, the library includes the new manuscript and rare book repository. This structure is connected to the Geyer & Adams building by a three-story glass atrium, and it houses a state-of-the-art manuscript and rare book storage facility with approximately 40,000 books and 10,000 linear feet of manuscripts.
Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art | 401 President Clinton Avenue | Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | (501) 320-5700
Housing the holdings of the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture & the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies