University of Arkansas Press and the Pryor Center hosted a book launch for Remote Access: Small Public Libraries in Arkansas at 6 p.m . Thursday, November 18. Authors Don House and Sabine Schmidt led a discussion about the book and signed 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.