State Programs > State Profiles

State Librarian

Ms. Carolyn Ashcraft
State Librarian
Arkansas State Library
900 W. Capitol, Suite 100
Little Rock, AR 72201-3108
Phone: 501/682-1526
Fax: 501/682-1899

State library website:

photo of Arkansas State Librarian“Improvements in our technological infrastructure enhance services for our library users and give us the opportunity to offer virtual continuing education programs for our staff—a valuable dual advantage. Education for the public and staff will include a traveling ‘tech petting zoo’ for hands-on experience with new devices.”

--Carolyn Ashcraft, State Librarian, Arkansas State Library

Read the Arkansas State Library Interview with IMLS.


The Grants to States Program

The Grants to States Program is the largest grant program run by IMLS; it provides funds to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) using a population-based formula set by the law. SLAAs determine goals and objectives for the funds in their statutorily required five-year plan (see below). For more information, see the Grants to States program overview.


Recent Allotments

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
$1,838,337 $1,800,586 $1,742,394 $1,792,501 $1,778,761

View allotments for all states


Project Examples

a Library for the Blind staff member and volunteerLibrary for the Blind
This project provided library services directly to Arkansans who were unable to use standard print material due to a visual, physical, or reading disability. It included the daily circulation of books and magazines in recorded and Braille formats along with access to downloadable audio and Braille books through the National Library Service’s BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) and Web-Braille programs. All books and equipment were provided on loan and delivered free of charge through the mail. The project also provided reader advisory and reference/referral services to patrons, family members, teachers, public libraries, and other interested parties. Services supported recreational reading, school book-list titles, accelerated reading lists, book clubs, and basic reference. The project also provided information and referral services on disabilities to libraries, state agencies, volunteer organizations, and interested citizens.
IMLS Funds: $221,821

Resource Sharing
The Arkansas State Library encouraged multi-library resource sharing statewide by providing resources to support reference/referral and interlibrary loan services, both for state government and users of public and institutional libraries. In addition to the state library’s reference, general non-fiction, and specialized collections, its cardholders also had remote access to select online databases. Additionally, the project provided cataloging services to public and institutional libraries, including original cataloging and the maintenance of local holdings information. The state library served as the coordinating agent to OCLC's FirstSearch, which provided access to a consortium of public, special, and academic libraries throughout the state.
IMLS Funds: $187,273

Search the Awarded Grants Database for additional details about awards in this state.


Five-Year Plan

Each state creates a 5-year plan for its programs to strengthen the efficiency, reach, and effectiveness of library services. Click here to read Arkansas's 5-year plan for 2013-2017 (PDF, 508KB). View all states' plans.


Five-Year Plan Highlights

Lifelong Learning

General Services and Initiatives

  • Sponsor the If All Arkansas Read the Same Book project with author visits, publicity items, and presentations. Include collaboration with the Library of Congress Center for the Book by participating in the annual Letters About Literature contest for school children in grades 4 through 12.
  • Maintain book club collections for use throughout Arkansas by book clubs connected with public, private, academic, and institutional libraries.
  • Promote Arkansas authors and reading programs through specific activities, including participation in the National Book Festival.


  • Provide a statewide summer reading program for children, young adults, and adults in libraries in all Arkansas counties, especially those with high percentages of low-income families. Participate in the national Collaborative Summer Library Program.
  • Provide leadership in developing ELL/ESL (English Language Learners/English as a Second Language) programming for public libraries.
  • Develop and/or implement programs emphasizing libraries’ roles in all stages of literacy development for all age groups, to include library staff training, materials or equipment, and programs.
  • Provide information literacy training in libraries of all types for the public by a variety of methods, including webinars and web-based classes, in different venues, and provide an online archive of past continuing education sessions/classes.

Information Access

Access to E-Resources

  • Explore alternative methods to expand statewide electronic access to information databases for Arkansas libraries and agencies, and track and evaluate database usage to refine subscriptions.
  • Investigate feasibility of special e-book collections, the creation of a statewide public library consortium for purchasing e-books, and incorporating e-books into the book club project.
  • Develop and implement one or more statewide collaborative contracts for libraries and/or agencies to use full image/text services. Provide access to full-image/text databases free of charge to all types of libraries statewide.

Interlibrary Loans

  • Support the development and use of the online Arkansas union catalogs of monographs and serials.
  • Maintain the state library integrated library system (ILS).


  • Create a digitization consortium to develop, promote, and support guidelines for digital content creation and access, based on national standards.

Reference Services

  • Provide onsite, web-based, and phone services to libraries statewide on any and all library related questions and concerns.

Economic and Employment Development

Job Seekers

  • Develop and maintain employment related resources to assist the state's unemployed/underemployed in their search for jobs.

Institutional Capacity

Continuing Education

  • Provide training in libraries of all types for directors/department heads and staff, by a variety of methods, including webinars and web-based classes, in different venues, and provide an online archive of past continuing education sessions/classes.
  • Encourage, and facilitate the development of public library strategic plans.
  • Provide program development training for all user groups, including children and young adults.
  • Investigate the possibility of adding new workshops for school librarians for their continuing education requirements.
  • Convene Arkansas library directors and/or staff to provide a forum to discuss emerging trends, issues of interest, and best practices.
  • Provide original cataloging services for libraries and/or agencies with little or no professional cataloging expertise.

Marketing and Market Research

  • Provide grant assistance through research and information to libraries as requested and inform the library community of grant opportunities as they become available.


  • Investigate the feasibility of hosting a website developed through partnerships with other libraries to promote information literacy training.
  • Encourage collaborations and partnerships among public and other types of libraries, public libraries and other agencies, and public libraries and community partners.


  • Continue ongoing activities that improve/upgrade the state library’s technology infrastructure.
  • Participate in the Arkansas E-Rate Workgroup with representatives from other state agencies as designated by the Arkansas Office of the Governor.

Civic Engagement

Access to Government Information

  • Create and maintain a state database of Arkansas inventors for use by libraries, state government, businesses, Arkansas citizens and others out-of-state.
  • Provide training and workshops on the use of patent and trademark resources in libraries statewide, state government, businesses and Arkansas citizens.

Civic Collaboration

  • Provide information access training in libraries of all types for archives/museum staff and local government leaders by a variety of methods, including webinars and web-based classes, in different venues, and provide an online archive of past continuing education sessions/classes.
  • Encourage and facilitate the development of public library plans for disaster preparedness/recovery in collaboration with local, regional, and state officials.

Human Services

Special Services for Special Needs

  • Provide services to the blind and physically handicapped in all 75 counties of Arkansas through continued support of the Regional Library for the Blind and participation in in the National Library Service for the Blind’s Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) program.
  • Increase public library awareness of the availability of public access computer software for the visually impaired.
  • Provide information and referral services on disabilities to libraries, state agencies, volunteer organizations, and interested citizens.
  • Support library services to Arkansas residents in institutions operated by various state agencies, including prisons, to promote literacy efforts and family literacy programs and provide assistance to libraries and other agencies in collaborative efforts with community groups to aid individuals in institutions.


Five-Year Evaluation

At the end of a 5-year period, each state reports their results in achieving goals and objectives projected in their 5-Year Plan. Click here to read Arkansas's 5-year evaluation for 2008-2012 (PDF, 316KB). View all states' evaluations.


IMLS Data Collection

State Library Survey
The State Library Agency Survey (SLAA) provides descriptive data about state library agencies for all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Public Library Survey
The Public Library Survey (PLS) provides national descriptive data on the status of public libraries in the United States and its territories. Data are collected from over 9,000 public library systems with over 17,000 public library outlets. Click here for Arkansas's profile from the most recent PLS publication (PDF, 336KB).