With their cameras and notebooks in hand, photographers Sabine Schmidt and Don House embarked on an ambitious project to document the libraries committed to serving Arkansas’s smallest communities. Remote Access is the culmination of this fascinating three-year effort, which took the artists to every region of their home state.
Schmidt’s carefully constructed color images of libraries and the communities they serve and House’s rich black-and-white portraits of library patrons and staff shine alongside the authors’ personal essays about their experiences. The pages here come alive with a deep connection to Arkansas’s history and culture as we accompany the authors on visits to a section of the Trail of Tears near Parkin, to the site of the tragic 1959 fire at the Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School in Wrightsville, and to Maya Angelou’s childhood home in Stamps, among many other significant destinations.
Through this testament to the essential role of libraries in the twenty-first century, Schmidt and House have created a clear-eyed portrait of contemporary rural life, delving into issues of race, politics, gender, and isolation as they document the remarkable hard work and generosity put forth in community efforts to sustain local libraries.