This Week at ULC

Newsletter | April 12, 2023


On Thursday, April 27 at 4 p.m. ET, we invite you to join your peers and pals for ULC’s Innovations Celebration! This year’s virtual program will showcase the year’s Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions with special video highlights. We will also hear from ULC’s President and CEO Brooks Rainwater. Plus, tune in to find out the fantastic location of ULC's 2023 Annual Forum, being held later this year on October 25-27, 2023. 

Note: Only those libraries that are selected as a Top Innovator or Honorable Mention will be contacted prior to the Celebration. Those that are not selected will not be notified.


Join us as we recognize and support the best and brightest library Innovations of 2023!



"Books Are Only the Beginning"

ULC, Spokane Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library

As the world becomes increasingly digital, libraries are undergoing a necessary transformation. A new article from Vital City discusses how libraries are meeting the needs of the digital age and ensuring that they continue to serve their communities in meaningful ways. The article features the work of ULC members Spokane Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library, quotes ULC's Director of Communications Paul Negron and highlights ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater's Bloomberg CityLab piece "Libraries Can Unite a Lonley, Divided Nation."

Read Now

Meet Evie, Colorado's First Electric Bookmobile

Poudre River Public Library District

Poudre River Public Library District is going green! This month the library will unveil Colorado's first all-electric bookmobile later this month — an electric van aptly named Evie! Evie is designed to travel to specific Northern Colorado communities, distributing reading materials, resources and mobile library services. The van will also offer library card sign-ups, printing and Wi-Fi hotspots.

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From "Food for Fines" to "Read and Feed"

Fairfax County Public Library

With the widespread popularity of the "fine free" movement, many libraries have had to tackle one of the only downsides: decreased food donations. A popular way to waive or lessen fines had been to donate nonperishable goods in exchange. By eliminating fines, many libraries lost that source of donation. After adopting a fine-free model in 2022, the Fairfax County Public Library shifted their messaging to create the “Read and Feed” drive in 2022, replacing the popular “Food for Fines."

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Sensory Storytime in Greensboro

Greensboro Public Library

For the first time, Greensboro Public Library will host a story time event for adults with special needs, like those with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities. Sensory Storytime is a way for special needs adults to see, smell and hear by using repetitive rhymes and interactive call and responses. Sensory Storytime will include short books and storytelling, music and movement.

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Literacy Through Laughter in Halifax

Halifax Public Libraries

This month, Halifax Public Libraries will host Funny Pages, Canada’s only festival devoted to books that crack kids up. Through Funny Pages, Halifax aims to use the joy of humor to introduce even the most reluctant reader to the joy of books and to see low literacy rates "laughed right out of existence." This year, some of Canada's funniest authors will entertain, educate and delight hundreds of elementary school students in Halifax and Lunenburg County. 

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"Libraries Serve Youth at Risk of Incarceration"

With the support of the Center for Racial Equity, the Urban Libraries Council is working to build a body of research on how libraries are working with African American youth, creating an initiative called Creating Youth Opportunities. Libraries engage with adults reentering the community to meet their needs. Many libraries, however, are increasing their focus on youth before they even enter the justice system, with an eye on long-term community change.

“Many youth disengage with the library at 16 years old – it’s not necessarily the place they want to be associated with,” said Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO Patrick Losinski. “We are proud of the amount of work we’ve done creating dynamic facilities. We have buildings kids want to hang out in. That’s half the battle, getting them through the doors.”

Read Now


"How to Support Mental Health and Well-Being In Your Library"

Join ULC for a webinar on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 1 p.m. ET to discover how Pima County Public Library formed its newest affinity team focused on community health and wellness. Heather Severson (Tween Services Librarian) and Karyn Prechtel-Altman (Deputy Director of Community Engagement) will share the work that Pima County Public Library is beginning with their groundbreaking Synapse Team, with the goal of creating an atmosphere that reduces the stigma often associated with mental health issues so that patrons and staff feel empowered to seek whatever help they need.


  • Heather Severson, Tween Services Librarian, Pima County Public Library
  • Karyn Prechtel-Altman, Deputy Director of Community Engagement, Pima County Public Library


ULC is thrilled to announce our new partnership with EBSCO, the leading global provider of resources for libraries! EBSCO is the generous Program Supporter of our upcoming CEO Roundtable, hosted in partnership with The New York Public Library. Thank you, EBSCO, for your support!

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Our ULC Member Job Board is regularly updated as we learn of new positions that are open at our member libraries. Once you are logged into your ULC member account, you can access the Job Board link on the left side under “Member Hub.” And, if you have a job posting at your library, please email and we will gladly add it to the Job Board!

The latest job postings:

  • Division Heads, Library Services | Palo Alto City Library
  • Public Services Librarian (3) | The Indianapolis Public Library
  • Public Services Associate II (Juvenile Focus) | The Indianapolis Public Library

ULC's Member Knowledge Exchange makes it easy for our members to build relationships and share transformative tools and ideas with ULC library leaders across North America. If you have a resource you'd like to share with other member libraries, please email

The latest resources:


ULC Analytics and Tech Leaders Call

Member Group Call

April 13 | 2-3 p.m. ET


ULC Education Leaders Call

Member Group Call

April 17 | 2-3 p.m. ET


ULC Customer Experience Call

Member Group Call

April 17 | 3-3:30 p.m. ET


ULC Deputy Directors Call

Member Group Call

April 17 | 4-5 p.m. ET


How to Support Mental Health and Well-Being in Your Library

Member Webinar

April 18 | 1-2 p.m. ET


ULC EDI Officers Call

Member Group Call

April 19 | 3-4 p.m. ET


Evaluating Summer Programs Webinar

Summer Learning Boot Camp #4

April 20 | 2-3 p.m. ET


Save the Date: 2023 Annual Forum

This October 25-27, 2023, ULC will convene our member community to engage in expert-led discussions and activities to elevate our shared understanding of the challenges our library leaders face to develop best practices and strategies to best serve our staff and patrons. Registration will open later this year.

The location of the 2023 ULC Annual Forum will be announced at this year's Innovations Celebration on April 27!


Library Forward offers a full complement of design services spanning a library’s entire lifecycle—from visioning, strategic planning, needs assessment, and branding, to interior design, signage, furniture services, and more. Known to many librarians and ULC members simply as “Group 4”, Library Forward is born out of Group 4’s library-specific expertise and reflected in the firm’s full name: Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, Inc.

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Hamilton East Public Library

Springtime means its seed library season! Librarians from Hamilton East Public Library were out in the community recently to teach kindergarteners about gardening.

Read the Tweet

LA Public Library

When in LA... The LA Public Library got a great shoutout from actor David Arquette, sporting his matching scarf and library card combo.

Read the Tweet

Allen County Public Library

These tiny chefs were whipping up a storm at Allen County Public Library's recent "If You Give a Librarian a Pancake" storytime!

See the IG Post

Saint Paul Public Library

Saint Paul Public Library welcomed spring with a special invitation on the library steps - the poem "Invitation" by Shel Silverstein!

See the IG Post

Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

Contact ULC's Communications Manager Elise Calanni at

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