At Arkansas Strong, we believe your story is a unique thread—one that, when woven with others, forms the beautiful tapestry of our state. And we believe telling Arkansas stories is needed now more than ever. That’s why we were thrilled to see Nate Coulter’s opinion piece in today’s Democrat-Gazette. Coulter is director of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS for short), which runs the ever-important Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Coulter announced that the library system is initiating a “Memory Lab”—a library service that helps Arkansans digitize their photos and other print materials, helps individuals learn to archive personal history, and provides oral history toolkits to capture patrons’ singular oral histories: 

At CALS, we want to preserve your story—the good parts and the hard parts. In 2022, visit our DIY Memory Lab to share yours. Maybe through storytelling we will eventually gain keener insights and greater appreciation for a variety of lived experiences. And maybe a little more humility from knowing that we can never escape entirely the limitations of our unique vantage point.

Nate Coulter, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Jan 21, 2022

Storytelling is the backbone of Arkansas Strong, and we heartily support this new CALS venture. If you are within the CALS geography, be sure to utilize The Memory Lab. If you live in or are traveling to the Northwest Arkansas region, we also recommend checking out The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History (part of the University of Arkansas), which documents the cultural heritage of Arkansans through a collection of audio and video resources.

And follow along with us here at Arkansas Strong, where we also celebrate and champion the stories of all Arkansans, no matter what they look like or where they live.