ULC Member News

Newsletter | November 15, 2023


People, Power and Place: Takeaways for Library Leaders

ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater

"In the 15 months since I started as President & CEO of ULC, I have had the opportunity to talk to the leader of every library in our membership and visit many libraries in my travels. Seeing the work firsthand is one of the most rewarding things about my job.

"And for a few days at the end of October, we harnessed that rewarding energy of learning from each other at the 2023 ULC Annual Forum in Seattle. More than 200 North American library leaders, hailing from 36 states and four provinces, participated in programming about the impact urban libraries have on people, the untapped potential of our collective power and the importance of place to bring us together.

"A recap of the 2023 ULC Annual Forum: People, Power, Place — Today's Urban Public Library is available on the ULC blog, but here are a few of my personal takeaways from the convening..."



NPR Life Kit: "7 Surprising Ways the Public Library Can Help You Save Money"

A new article from NPR's Life Kit — a podcast from Marielle Segarra on life hacks and advice — breaks down some of the ways America's public libraries are helping people save money and expanding their access to free resources.

"Libraries are one of the most important parts of the social infrastructure," said Milwaukee Public Library Director Joan Johnson. "The possibilities for how you explore are endless."

The following ULC member libraries are highlighted in the tips: Brooklyn Public Library, Broward County Library, Harris County Public Library, Milwaukee Public Library, Nashville Public Library, Queens Public Library and The New York Public Library. Read the full article to see which services are featured.


Boston Magazine: "Why We Need Libraries More Than Ever"

Boston Public Library

In a new, in-depth feature from Boston Magazine, writer Tom McGrath posed the following question to Boston Public Library president David Leonard: “If public libraries didn’t exist and we tried to start them today, what do you think would happen?” Read the article to hear Leonard's response and learn about the essential, innovative services BPL is offering its patrons. READ MORE.

Introducing ULC's Newest Members

Elkhart Public Library and Simi Valley Public Library

Join us in welcoming ULC's two newest library members — Elkhart Public Library in Indiana and Simi Valley Public Library in California! Elkhart Public Library, located in Elkhart, Indiana, serves a population of 53,000+ at its five branches. Simi Valley Public Library is located in Simi Valley, California, part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, and serves 125,000 residents. We are so glad to have you in the ULC ranks! Learn more about Elkhart Public Library and Simi Valley Public Library.

OPPL Recognized for ‘Outstanding Efforts on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People’

Oak Park Public Library

In October, OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Gay and Lesbian Association) recognized Oak Park Public Library for “outstanding efforts on behalf of LGBTQ+ people in Oak Park and the surrounding area.” OPPL Executive Director Joslyn Bowling Dixon accepted the OPALGA+ Mel Wilson Founders Award at the OPALGA+ Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Gala on October 22. As the library strives to be A Library for Everyone, Dixon said, “I am proud of the inclusive and engaging efforts of our teams to create an inclusive and safe space for all of our patrons.” READ MORE.

Library and Public Health Workers on the Front Line

Kansas City Public Library

"The most qualified librarian should never replace medical providers and social service experts. Yet necessity has transformed many library staff members into front-line health workers," writes John Herron, executive director of the Kansas City Public Library. In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post , KCPL executive director John Herron writes about the common goals and, often, front-line roles of public library and public health workers. Strong partnerships between libraries and local health systems, Herron posits, can build more vibrant, healthy and resilient communities. READ MORE.


Applications for the 2024 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries are now being accepted by ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. These grants recognize libraries for their role in the growth of graphic literature and award funds and resources for graphic novel collection development and programming.

Two Will Eisner Graphic Novel grants will be awarded in 2024: one Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants, which provides support to libraries that would like to expand their existing graphic novel collection, services, and programs; and one Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant, which provides support to a library for the initiation of a new graphic novel service or program. 

The application and information about the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries can be found on the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table Eisner Grants page. Interested applicants will find resources and examples on the Eisner Grants FAQ page to help guide them through the process of writing their grant applications. The application deadline is January 28, 2024. For any inquiries, please contact ALA Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Round Table staff liaison Tina Coleman at ccoleman@ala.org.



The National Civic League is excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2024 All-America City Award. With a rich history dating back to 1949, this award has been honoring communities that harness the power of civic engagement, collaboration, inclusivity, and innovation to effectively tackle local challenges.

The 2024 theme, 'Strengthening Democracy through Local Action and Innovation,' aims to spotlight communities bolstering democratic processes, through innovations such as making it easier to vote, engage in community affairs, and participate in leadership roles.

Mark your calendar! The deadline for optional letters of intent to apply is December 14, 2023, and final applications must be submitted by February 13, 2024. In March 2024, we'll announce the top 20 finalists who will have the opportunity to convene in Denver, CO from June 7-9, 2024, to showcase their community's achievements at the All-America City Award event. Don't miss your chance to shine on this national stage!

For additional information, watch this informational webinar and download the application.




Spokane Public Library

Did you know its Global Entrepreneurship Week? In Spokane, residents can take advantage of the Start Up Spokane online resource database, available to all Spokane Public Library patrons.

See the Post

Barrie Public Library

The Ontario Public Library Association recognized Barrie Public Library's Serena McGovern as the Children and Youth Librarian of the Year. Congratulations, Serena!

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Halifax Public Library

With the winter months coming in fast, the Halifax Public Library is offering a helpful resource — light therapy lamps!

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Louisville Free Public Library

The Louisville Ballet is collaborating with the Louisville Free Public Library to bring Nutcracker Family Storytime to seven library locations!

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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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