'Remote Access' Highlights Libraries' Impact in Rural Arkansas Communities

The cover for Remote Access: Small Public Libraries in Arkansas.
Photo Submitted

The cover for Remote Access: Small Public Libraries in Arkansas.

The U of A Press and the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History will present a book launch for Remote Access: Small Public Libraries in Arkansas at 6 p.m. Nov. 18. Authors Don House and Sabine Schmidt will lead a discussion at the Pryor Center about the book and sign copies afterwards.

For three years, photographers House and Schmidt traversed the state, documenting the libraries committed to serving Arkansas’ smallest communities. The result of their travels is Remote Access.

Schmidt’s carefully constructed color images of libraries and their communities and House’s rich black-and-white portraits of library patrons and staff join the authors’ personal essays about their experiences.

Arkansas history and culture are also an important part of the book, as the authors visited a section of the Trail of Tears near Parkin, the site of the tragic 1959 fire at the Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School in Wrightsville and Maya Angelou’s childhood home in Stamps, among many other significant destinations.

Remote Access is part of the U of A Press series The Arkansas Character, edited by Robert Cochran. “Schmidt and House,” Cochran writes in the preface, “begin and end as fierce advocates for libraries and librarians as their human faces, impressed to the point of awe at their resourcefulness … angered to the point of fury at their undervaluation or mistreatment.”

The Arkansas Character series is jointly sponsored by the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies and the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

A limited number of copies will be available for sale by local bookstore Pearl’s Books at the launch. The book is expected to be for sale online and in retail bookstores in mid-December.

“A signed copy of this stunning coffee table book,” said U of A Press Marketing Director Charlie Shields, “would make an excellent gift for anyone who loves and appreciates libraries, photography or rural Arkansas.”

The event is free and open to the public, and masks are required. The Pryor Center is located on 1 East Center St. in Fayetteville. Registation is not required.

About the University of Arkansas Press: The University of Arkansas Press, a division of the University of Arkansas Office of Research and Innovation, advances the mission of the University of Arkansas by publishing peer-reviewed scholarship and literature of enduring value. The Press publishes books by authors of diverse backgrounds writing for specialty as well as general audiences in Arkansas and throughout the world.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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