ULC Member News

Newsletter | July 20, 2023


ULC Annual Forum 2023: People | Power | Place

Registration Opens on July 31

This year’s Annual Forum, "People | Power | Place - Today’s Urban Public Library" will provide members with the opportunity to gather as a membership to talk about advocacy, AI, leadership, and foresight planning. Our strength as a member community lies in our ability to amplify and uplift each other, and great things can happen when we can come together.

Annual Forum registration will open on July 31. Hotel rooms are now available to book. See all details on the ULC website. 

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An Open Letter to America's Librarians

"Together, you help people become informed and active citizens, capable of making this country what they want it to be."

Former President of the United States Barack Obama published an open letter earlier this week in support of America’s librarians in an era of increasingly frequent book challenges and sometimes politically motivated, highly personal attacks against those who resist them.

As part of his support of libraries, President Obama is also taking to TikTok with America's public libraries to shine a light on the critical freedom to read — including two ULC members! Check his special guest spot with Harris County Public Library and a cameo in Prince George's County Memorial Library System's "Rock Banned" promo.

Read the Letter Now

2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Services

LA County Library, Toledo Lucas Public Library

Earlier this week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Crosby Kemper awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Services to eight extraordinary institutions — including ULC members LA County Library and Toledo Lucas County Public Library! READ MORE.

Jay-Z Takes Over Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library

Last week, the Brooklyn Public Library made history with a sprawling archival exhibit honoring the life and career of Jay-Z. Roc Nation teamed up with the library to plan the exhibit over the last six months, designing a unique tribute to the Brooklyn native. READ MORE.

A Deeper View into the Legacy of Residential Schools

Toronto Public Library

An interactive exhibit using mixed/augmented reality is coming to Toronto Public Library branches to educate visitors on the legacy of residential schools and to “start a broader conversation,” said one of the project’s creators. READ MORE.

Austin Public Library Debuts New Digital Makerspace

Austin Public Library

Austin Public Library’s central branch hosted the grand opening of a new digital makerspace earlier this month, unveiling free access to various digital editing and creation programs. The space features computers with free software like the Adobe Creative Suite, Audacity and Blender. READ MORE.



New on the ULC Website: "Book Sanctuaries"

As part of ULC's ongoing democracy work, we are pleased to share the newest page on the ULC website: "Book Sanctuaries." Launched by the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Library in September 2022, Book Sanctuaries are spaces for materials that are threatened or challenged.

CPL's BookSanctuary.org calls for established sanctuaries to do at least one of the following:

  • Collect and protect endangered books
  • Make those books broadly accessible
  • Host book talks and events, including sparking conversations about diverse characters and stories
  • Educate others on the history of book banning and burning

Visit the new "Book Sanctuaries" page to see examples of ULC members that are leading the charge to protect library materials as established Books Sanctuaries.

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"Libraries Build Tailored Program Plans to Improve Youth Outcomes"

At ULC's Creating Youth Opportunities convening, cohort members connected on developing program plans to serve those youth at the highest risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. Our attendees had these takeaways:

  1. Libraries must understand the developing adolescent brain.
  2. Youth voice must be incorporated into program design.
  3. Equity must be a throughline.
  4. Prioritize community outreach.
  5. Commit the time and resources to build key relationships.

Read more in ULC's latest article below.

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ULC is pleased to announce that we are partnering with the American Library Association to Unite Against Book Bans, a national grassroots campaign to engage the public in the fight against censorship.

This non-partisan campaign leverages the reach of national organizations representing librarians; educators; parents; authors; publishers, distributors; champions for civil liberties, civil rights, and equality; and more. When we unite, we are stronger.

We invite all libraries and individuals to join with thousands of others and sign up to Unite Against Book Bans.

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Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

Contact ULC's Communications Manager Elise Calanni at ecalanni@urbanlibraries.org.

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