This Week at ULC

Newsletter | January 18, 2023


Wednesday, January 25 | 2 p.m. ET

The Role of Libraries in Food Justice

Public libraries have been supporting food access, advocating for food quality, and providing nutrition information in their communities for decades through initiatives such as seed libraries, meal distribution and SNAP/WIC enrollment support.

Join ULC for a webinar on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET, focused on how public libraries are advancing food justice across the U.S. today, including successful case studies. Attendees will learn about recent research from ULC and hear from several library leaders who participated in ULC’s Libraries and Food Security Initiative regarding the work they are doing in their communities, including examples of successful programs, roadblocks they faced and values that drive their work.


  • Brooks Rainwater, President and CEO, Urban Libraries Council
  • Shari Henry, Director of Democracy and Community Impact, Urban Libraries Council
  • Katie Sullivan, Program Manager, Urban Libraries Council
  • Lauren Boeke, Assistant Youth Services Coordinator, Toledo Lucas County Public Library
  • Kehmari Norman, Community Garden Specialist, DC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Margot O'Connell, Adult Services Librarian, Sitka Public Library
  • Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz, Director/CEO, Lorain Public Library System
  • Genelle Schuler, Branch Manager, Ellen Coolidge Burke Branch, Alexandria Library
  • Aisha Salazar, Associate Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, Virginia Cooperative System


In the work of food security, it is important to understand that the words we use can directly impact the success of our work. In ULC's latest blog by Director of Democracy and Community Impact Shari Henry, read about the language of food security that stood out and evolved during a recent Libraries and Food Security ULC convening in Alexandria, Va.



The Continuing Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

ULC Board Member Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi recently published an article in Recordnet called, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Visionary Work Must be Continued and Embraced." Released just prior to MLK Day, the article examines the continued need to keep Dr. King's teachings and beliefs — particularly when it comes to economic equity: "[Dr. King] urged people to pay close attention to the greatest moral threat to the nation’s security—the increasing poverty among America’s children, youth and families."


ULC Members Recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Madison Public Library, Milwaukee Public Library, Queens Public Library

This week, libraries across the United States held many celebrations for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor his legacy and encourage action among communities. See a few examples of the programming ULC members offered below:

Madison Public Library - In Madison, middle school leaders were invited to explore service and activism in memory of Dr. King at the MLK Youth Call to Service. This event was put on my the King Coalition in partnership with the library.

Milwaukee Public Library - Milwaukee Public Library held a celebration for MLK Day centering around the theme "United in Growth, Rooted in Community," presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Public Library Teen Advisory Board. The celebration had a community art project, trivia, and a performance by Milwaukee's Poet Laureate Mario Willis.

Queens Public Library - Queens Public Library is hosting programming that will honor Dr. King throughout the whole month of January! This kicked off last week with the launch of a film festival that will show films focusing on the civil rights movement, and will continue with events like virtual author talks, musical and theatrical performances and more.

Houston Public Library Goes Fine Free

Houston Public Library

Houston Public Library is now fine free! Effective Jan. 11, Houston Public Library eliminated all late fines on overdue items, joining the growing number of public library systems in North America lowering financial barriers to library access. "A fine free library system evens the playing field and incentivizes Houstonians to become lifelong users of our Houston Public Library," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. To see which North American libraries have eliminated fines, see ULC's Fine Free Map.

Learn More

Elevating & Exploring Black Nova Scotia

Halifax Public Libraries

Halifax Public Libraries is partnering with Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia Inc., a travel community and business program that encourages more Black travelers to explore around Nova Scotia and specifically Mi'kma'ki, Turtle Island. Together, the library and Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia will host a Virtual Travel Series to share stories on the positive impact of travel for Black communities, self-reflection and discovery.

Learn More

Library Director Kristen Sorth Named 2023 St. Louis Titan 100

St. Louis County Library

Kristen Sorth, Director and CEO of St. Louis County Library, has been named a 2023 St. Louis Titan 100. The Titan 100 program recognizes St. Louis's Top 100 CEO's & C-level executives. St. Louis County Library has received many honors under Kristen's leadership — most recently, the 2022 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the country's highest honor for museums and libraries. Congratulations, Kristen, and well deserved!

Learn More


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:

  • Manager, Regional Branch (Adult Focus) - The Indianapolis Public Library
  • Community Engagement Manager - Denver Public Library
  • Manager, Library Branch I - Dakota County 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:


As part of the Building Equity: Amplify Summer Learning initiative, ULC invites members to participate in an informational boot camp series designed to support libraries as they work to amplify equity in summer learning. See full session descriptions and speakers by visiting the registration pages. Please reach out to Katie Sullivan with any questions.

[TOMORROW!] Boot Camp #1: Outreach Through an Equity Lens

Thursday, January 19 at 2 p.m. ET.


Boot Camp #2: Working with Middle School Students

Thursday, February 16 at 2 p.m. ET


Boot Camp #3: STEM Planning in Summer

Thursday, March 16 at 2 p.m. ET


Boot Camp #4: Evaluating Summer Programs

Thursday, April 20 at 2 p.m. ET


Join 45+ libraries and supporting organizations by signing on to the Statement on Summer Learning. ULC encourages all members to read the Statement and add their library to the growing list of supporters.


Outreach Through an Equity Lens

Summer Learning Boot Camp #1

January 19 | 2-3 p.m. ET


ULC Deputy Directors Call

Member Group Call

January 23 | 4-5 p.m. ET


The Role of Libraries in Food Justice


January 25 | 2 p.m. ET


ULC Customer Experience Leaders Call

Member Group Call

January 30 | 3-4 p.m. ET



LA Public Library

LA Public Library took followers behind the scenes of a tote bag creation at their Maker Lab for Lunar New Year.

See the IG Post

Richmond Hill Public Library

Richmond Hill Public Library has just sworn in their new Library Board!

Read the Tweet

Mississauga Library

Almost all locations of the Mississauga Library have light therapy lamps, aiming to reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorders.

Read the Tweet

DC Public Library

DC Public Library has just launched the Public Square, a conversation series to engage residents on equity and racial justice.

Read the Tweet

Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

Contact ULC's Director of Communications Paul Negron at

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