ULC Member News

Newsletter | May 10, 2023


Thank you to the ULC member library CEOs and directors who joined the inaugural ULC CEO Roundtable in New York! We hope this opportunity to connect and share with your peers left you feeling energized for your continued, essential work in the ever-changing library space.

Members, stay tuned for materials and resources on some of the critical issues — like adult education and workforce, AI and the future of libraries — that were discussed among this group

A special thank you to The New York Public Library for graciously hosting this event, and to our partner EBSCO Information Services for acting as our program supporter!


Thank you to those who joined the 2023 Innovations Celebration on April 27! This year's Innovations cycle was a huge success, and we are excited to share the 16 honorees — 8 Top Innovators and 8 Honorable Mentions. Congratulations to all!

Rewatch the Celebration

This virtual event celebrated the award winners for ULC's annual Innovations Initiative! This year’s virtual program showcased the year’s Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions, with special video highlights of each Top Innovator.

Attendees heard from ULC’s President and CEO Brooks Rainwater and got a special announcement from Seattle Public Library Executive Director and Chief Librarian Tom Fay.

View Recording

The Award-Winning Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions include:

Advocacy & Awareness:

  • Top Innovator: Louisville Free Public Library | Mobile Newsrooms in Libraries 
  • Honorable Mention: Alameda County Library | Every Month is Pride Month


Anti-Racism, Digital Equity, Inclusion:

  • Top Innovator: Las Vegas-Clark County Library District | Cell Phone Lending Program 
  • Honorable Mention: Baltimore County Public Library | ACP Adoption Events and Kits 


Data & Performance Management:

  • Top Innovator: Dallas Public Library | Data-Driven Support for Equity in Budgets 
  • Honorable Mention: Chesterfield County Public Library | Visual Storytelling Through GIS – Who Do We Serve? 



  • Top Innovator: Prince George’s County Memorial Library System | “Rock Banned” Intellectual Freedom Campaign 
  • Honorable Mention: Salt Lake County Library | Let’s Be Neighbors: Connecting to Civic Engagement


Education – Children and Adults: 

  • Top Innovator: Queens Public Library | The World of Work for Teens 
  • Honorable Mention: Richmond Hill Public Library | Library Programming Partnerships 


Health & Wellness:

  • Top Innovator: Cambridge Public Library | A Library That Reinforces Community + Wellness 
  • Honorable Mention: Edmonton Public Library | Taking Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn to Families 

Operations & Management:

  • Top Innovator: Kansas City Public Library | Request It: Collaborative Acquisitions 
  • Honorable Mention: Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library | Functional Mentoring for Practical Success 


Workforce & Economic Development:

  • Top Innovator: LA Public Library | Be a Successful Street Vendor 
  • Honorable Mention: San Diego Public Library | Creative Economy: Library Filmmaking 
View All Submissions


The ULC Executive Board has proposed a slate of board members for 2022-2023. Additionally, the ULC Board Governance Taskforce conducted a review to update ULC’S bylaws for changes in law and to clarify and update best practices since last adopted by members in 2012.

The Board Slate and Bylaws Revisions will be presented for action at the Annual Membership Meeting on June 15, where members will be asked to vote. Registration details to follow.

View Board Slate
View Bylaws Revisions

Seattle Joins Books Unbanned

Seattle Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library

The Seattle Public Library is officially the second library in the nation to bring challenged books to teens and young adults across the country. The “Books Unbanned” program — first launched by the Brooklyn Public Library in New York — allows teens to sign up for a free membership that gives them access to online books and audiobooks.

“We really, really want to defend intellectual freedom and access, and thought this was a great way to do that,” said Andrew Harbison, the director of Library Programs and Services at the Seattle Public Library. “Over the last several months, we started thinking about it and started talking to the Brooklyn Public Library team and worked together to launch our own e-card and version of Books Unbanned.”

Learn More

Providing a space for remote work in Boston

Boston Public Library

Public libraries across North America are seeing a huge influx of patrons using the library space to do remote work. This renewed interest in using libraries as a "third place" has led to increased opportunities for people to connect to their community. A new article from WorkLife examines how library systems like Boston Public Library are leaning into the coworking space trend with innovative amenities.

“Over the past six to nine months we have really resumed and the space is full,” said Gregor Smart, head of Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center at Boston Public Library. “You can tell people are on business calls, people are doing job interviews, people are on Zoom calls, in small meetings. People are coming to our space.”

Learn More

Revitalized Black Heritage Collection

Markham Public Library

The Black Heritage Collection at Markham Public Library was celebrated on Saturday, May 6th, marking 23 years since its inception. The collection boasts over 1,200 items, including graphic novels, children's books, audiobooks, fiction and non-fiction titles, all of which cover a diversity of subjects and highlight the Black community's contributions to society.

“The Black Heritage Collection, developed in consultation with the local Black community, provides identity-affirming books with stories and information told through the experiences of Black people,” says MPL CEO Catherine Biss. “The creation of this collection takes an equity-informed approach to our collection development and is a critical part of MPL’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Strategy.”

Learn More


Cindy Hohl, ALA President-Elect

Kansas City Public Library

Cindy Hohl, director of policy analysis and operational support at Kansas City Public Library was recently elected 2023-2024 president-elect of the American Library Association (ALA).

Upon learning the outcome of the election, Hohl said, “Thank you to everyone who voted, and I am truly humbled to take these next steps together with all of you. It is an honor and privilege to support library staff across the field, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as 2024-25 ALA President."

Learn More

2023 Business Leadership Award

Pioneer Library System

Pioneer Library System was recognized at Leadership Oklahoma’s 2023 Excellence in Leadership Gala earlier this month. PLS was the recipient of the 2023 Business Leadership Award for building leaders within the library system and in the community.

Learn More


Meet Christine Merzazada, ULC's Finance Manager. Christine is a valued member of the ULC team and brings over 15 years of experience working for nonprofit accounting and financial activities. You can reach Christine by emailing cmerzazada@urbanlibraries.org.

Full ULC Events Calendar

ULC Analytics and Tech Leaders Call

Thursday, May 11, 2023 | 2 p.m. ET

Register Now

ULC Collections Leaders Call

Thursday, May 11, 2023 | 3 p.m. ET

Register Now

ULC Customer Experience Leaders Call

Monday, May 15, 2023 | 4 p.m. ET

Register Now

ULC Comms and Marketing Leaders Call

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 3 p.m. ET

Register Now

ULC Develpment Professionals Call - Focus on Data and Library Impact

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 3 p.m. ET

Register Now

ULC EDI Officers Call

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 3 p.m. ET

Register Now

Save the Date: 2023 Annual Forum

October 25-27 | Seattle, Washington

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.

Hotel Rooms Available Now!


Houston Public Library

On April 28, the Houston Astros recognized the Houston Public Library, with Director, Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson throwing out the first pitch!

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Enoch Pratt Free Library

Enoch Pratt Free Library is celebrating 80 years of the Bookmobile! Check out this creative bookmobile display.

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Milton Public Library

The Milton Public Library's Indigenous Garden at the Beaty Branch has reopened for the spring season.

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DC Public Library

"Happy to be here." DC Public Library made a Met Gala "debut" with this hilarious post.

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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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