Friday, May 9, 2008

What happens when I visit the Butler Center?

That is a very good question.

The Butler Center is located on the third floor of the Main Library building in downtown Little Rock. When you enter the Butler Center, the first thing you will notice is a desk with a sign-in book. We ask patrons to sign in so we can protect our collection by knowing our visitors and so we can track how many patrons we have.

To the left of the desk, you will see a row of computers. This is where you will access the library’s catalog, as well as our main genealogical databases, Ancestry and Heritage Quest. Internet access is also available on these computers for research purposes only. We ask that you sign in for these computers and that you limit your time if there are others waiting.

To the right of the desk, you will see the main staff desk. At this desk you can find the sign-in sheet for the computers, an assortment of flyers and pamphlets and—most importantly—a happy staff member to answer all of your questions. This Butler Center staff member can help you get started on your project or discover new resources for you.

This desk is also where you will request books or documents that are in the closed area. For example, when you look in the catalog for a book’s call number, you might see “ARK” in front of the number. This indicates that a book is not out on the shelves in the research room and must be brought out by Butler Center staff. We also keep maps, manuscript collections, and newspaper clippings in vertical files out of the main research room. If you are requesting something from the back, the staff member will ask you to fill out a small slip of paper with your name and the materials you would like. If you are a first time visitor requesting something from a manuscript collection, you will also be asked to fill out a researcher information form.

Just past the staff desk, you will see the microfilm readers and a photocopier. Beyond that along the wall is a long row of microfilm cases. We have microfilm machines that are capable of printing and that are read-only. In our microfilm collection you will find Arkansas marriage records and Civil War records, among other things.

So, that is a run down of what to expect when you visit the Butler Center. Most importantly—feel free to ask for help. We are here to help you if you need us and will be happy to do so.


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