ULC Member News

Newsletter | August 2, 2023


ULC Annual Forum 2023: People, Power, Place

Today's Urban Public Library

Urban public libraries are places and spaces that bolster innovation, empower change and spur productivity.

Anchoring around these actions, ULC’s 2023 Annual Forum — People, Power, Place: Today’s Urban Public Library — will charge members to explore and expand the future role and position of the public library in an ever-changing world. For public library leaders, people, power and place are essential aspects that define their roles and responsibilities. Each element plays a significant role in shaping the library's mission, impact and community engagement. 

Join ULC library and foundation executives, senior staff and corporate partners from October 25 to 27 in Seattle, WA. Registration is now open!



People, Power and Place

"The core of any public library's existence is the people it serves, including the library staff and the community members. Both staff and the community value an innovative, productive and accessible space that enriches their lives. Effective library leaders use their power to empower others, ensuring that diverse perspectives are heard in decision-making and shaping the library's direction. But none of this work would be as effective without the library as a gathering place, a cultural hub and community space for all."

Hear from ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater about the intersection of people, power and place in the scope of North American public libraries. Plus, learn more about the 2023 ULC Annual Forum.

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Launching Barbershop Books in Columbus

Columbus Metropolitan Library

Last weekend, Columbus Metropolitan Library celebrated the launch of its Barbershop Books programming! The event featured free haircuts and books for children in grades K-12. The event paralleled the library's Back-to-School event called Backpacks and Belts. READ MORE.

San Diego Takes a Stand for Intellectual Freedom

San Diego Public Library

In the wake of a protest of LGBTQIA+ materials in one branch, the San Diego Public Library held firm to the institution's strong values of access for all. And in response to the protest, community members donated replacement books and raised over $15,000. READ MORE.

Honoring Tradition and History at the 19th Annual Dragon Boat Festival

Barrie Public Library

This month, the Barrie community will come together to celebrate the Barrie Public Library's 19th annual Dragon Boat Festival, a time-honored cultural event rooted in ancient Chinese history. The library started the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival in 2003 to strengthen community spirit and raise funds for the library as well as local charitable and not-for-profit organizations. READ MORE.

Baltimore County Public Library Awards First MLS Scholarship

Baltimore County Public Library

The Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library has named Erin Ramos of Aberdeen, Md. the very first recipient of the Charles Robinson Endowed Master of Library Science (MLS) Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation started the scholarship in memory of Charles Robinson, who was the director of Baltimore County Public Library for more than 30 years. READ MORE.


Correction: The last edition of the "Upcoming ULC Events" newsletter incorrectly listed the September Communication and Marketing Leaders Member Group call as taking place on September 18. This Member Group call will occur on Wednesday, September 20 at 3-4 p.m. ET. Register here.


Webinar Recording: Civic Engagement in Uncivil Times

Thank you to the nearly 200 of you who attended the Civic Engagement in Uncivil Time webinar last week! For anyone who missed the live session, you can view the recording of the meeting for free on the ULC website. All public webinars are available to view here.


Webinar Description:

Two library leaders share what their libraries are doing to create public squares where all feel welcome. Oak Park Public Library offers programming and resources to help their patrons learn about voting, engaging with public officials, taking part in the political process and evaluating news and information services. Spokane Public Library offers a monthly Civics Salon: Monthly discussions on democracy where the public is invited to discuss what they believe the rights and responsibilities are involved in a healthy citizenry. 

View Recording


ULC is thrilled to welcome two new members to our team — Liz Bartolomeo and Shamichael Hallman. Our team is so pleased to have them aboard. Please join us in welcoming Liz and Shamichael to the ULC family!

Liz Bartolomeo (she, her, hers)

Director of Communications


Liz is an experienced communications strategist who specializes in initiating innovative projects that support organizational goals and boost engagement and awareness through earned and social media, coalition building, and fundraising opportunities. She was most recently the Deputy Chief of Communications for DC Public Schools. Immediately prior to joining DCPS, she led communication strategy and external affairs for the Democracy Alliance, a membership organization of high-wealth progressive donors. Liz is a graduate of The George Washington University.

Shamichael Hallman (he, him, his)

Director of Civic Health and Economic Opportunity


Shamichael is a social, civic and tech innovator. As a '23 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he explored how urban design and planning can make for socially inclusive cities. He has served as the Senior Library Manager with Memphis Public Libraries where he guided the reimagining of the historic Cossitt Library. His 2020 TEDx talk "Reimagining the Public Library to Reconnect the Community" garnered international acclaim. In 2021 he co-founded Libraries as Bridges which focuses on evaluating how libraries build social cohesion, promote civic renewal and advance the ideals of a healthy democracy.


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.

Learn More

Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

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

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