Using the Fort Smith Public Library

Using the Fort Smith Public Library

I’ve always loved the library. I am so thankful my mom and babysitters used to take me to the library as a child.  I not only learned to love reading, but it made me appreciate having all those books at my disposal.  I remember the Garland County library had a big dollhouse on display. I wish I had a picture of it now. It seemed so grand and fascinating. I remember there being a step stool in front so you could peer into the tiny intricate house.  I remember you couldn’t touch it, but I have fond memories of standing there gazing at it for a long time. Those are fond library memories for sure.

As I’ve moved in my adult years, I’ve always gotten a library card. Even though I don’t live in town now, I continue to keep a Fort Smith library card because I love using the library.  If you live in Fort Smith, you can get a library card for free.  Non-residents, like myself, can get one for $35.  It’s a deal.  Here’s how I use the Fort Smith Public Library.

Books.  Well, duh.  But yes, books.  Not only does the library have a great selection, but if there is something you’re looking for that they don’t have, you can easily fill out an interlibrary loan request in person at the library.  It’s SO easy.  You just need to know the book title and author and they will find the book for you.  Other libraries will loan them the book so you can read it. “But finding books at the library is hard!” Ok, I’ll take that.  If you aren’t accustomed to locating books in the neverending shelves, it can be tough.  But get this- you can place hold requests for books online, and then just go pick them up.  No shelf surfing required! It’s the best.  You can also place books on hold for the satellite branches, so if one is closer for you, they will have those books ready for you to pick up at the other branches (Just wait for the notification that your books are ready.  They usually call).

There is also an e-reader program where you can download some books, but I haven’t used that yet. I do have a Nook, but I find it just as simple to check out a book.

With books, you typically get ones from the library for 2 weeks, and you can renew for an additional 2 weeks twice (for 6 weeks total).  Books I’ve gotten through interlibrary loan I’ve been able to keep for like 30 days without renewal.  You can check out 25 total items at a time…so if you have kids who want to get multiple short books, you could totally go through 25 in a 2 week period.

DVDs from the Fort Smith Library

DVDs. The library has many DVDs in their catalog, including some hard to find titles.  One thing I’m LOVING is old musicals on DVD.  Most DVDs have a 7 day checkout limit, and can be renewed for an additional 7 days.  You can have 6 DVDs out at a time.  I have requested 6 old musicals on DVD while I’m cooped up recovering from gallbladder surgery this week.  That’s right…you can place DVDs on hold as well, and then just go pick them up at the checkout desk.

Other materials. The library also has magazines, CDs, cassette tapes (who still has a VHS?! I do!), and “Great Expectation Kits.”  The other resources are pretty self-explanatory, but I find the “Great Expectation Kits” interesting- they are birthing kits!  They include a video and 6 books to prepare parents for a new baby.  I don’t need that yet, but I might someday!

Genealogy. Our library has its own genealogy room where you can dig into your roots. They have books and census records from just about any state, along with a staff who can guide you on your search. These are non-circulating, so you can’t check these resources out…but you could spend all day digging in.

Events. The library hosts events for children, teens, book clubs, and even fun stuff like a Lego club!

While your library may have a little bit different policy than the Fort Smith Public Library, I know that your library will provide you with awesome resources to use.  Do you utilize your public library?  What’s your favorite thing about it?


  1. I love the Fort Smith library! Now that I live in the Van Buren area I’ve been using their library to check out books, etc. But I still enjoy browsing around the one in Fort Smith, and even taking my laptop over sometimes to work at one of their long tables or in Dewey’s Café. Two thumbs up to this location! 🙂

  2. Awesome idea for a post! Our local public library also has much more than books, although I’m not sure about the birthing kits. 😉 At our library, kids can get their own library card when they turn four. My children were so excited to be able to have a library card with their name on it. It was a rite of passage at my house! Which reminds me . . . we need to go to the library.

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