ULC Member News

Newsletter | November 29, 2023


Not your mother’s library: How book-borrowing institutions are evolving

Smart Cities Dive

A new article from Smart Cities Dive examines the dynamic shift happening in public libraries to meet the changing needs of urban communities — featuring ULC members Baltimore County Public Library, The Seattle Public Library, Free Library of Philadelphia and Salt Lake City Public Library.

And with this innovation, says ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater, libraries need to be maintained. “Supporting libraries should be at the top of every city leader’s policy agenda,” he said. “Investments in libraries are going to pay some of the strongest dividends within cities.”

Read the full article by clicking below.


Opening the Door to Indigenous Arts and Culture

Calgary Public Library

Calgary’s Central Library hosts the permanent installations of 11 Indigenous artists throughout its space, one being a big metal buffalo that is pretty hard to miss! Its body is made up of hundreds of letters strung together to form 120 words in the language of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The statue, called Education is the New Buffalo, stands about shoulder height, if not a bit taller than its creator Lionel Peyachew.

“A long time ago, we were all dependent on the buffalo. That was how we survived,” Peyachew said. “But now, all new survival is education.” READ MORE.

Celebrating the Forest of Stories in Douglas County

Douglas County Libraries

Presented by Douglas County Libraries Foundation, the Forest of Stories is a free, interactive exhibit of decorated, book-themed trees! The "forest" includes more than 150 trees decked in beloved stories, from favorite children’s tales to classic literature, crime thrillers, horror, comedy, mysteries, larger-than-life characters, and more. Visitors will find different themed trees at each library location, some decked with life-size trimmings, memorabilia, and artifacts, among other unique details. READ MORE.

Bringing the Library to the Airport

Houston Public Library

The Houston Public Library and Houston Airports celebrated the launch of the self-service BOOKLink automat this month. The convenient cabinet features five shelves of books for adults, teens and children. Books are offered in English and Spanish, as 38% of Houston residents speak Spanish and the airport is a primary gateway to Latin America. The machines, which work like vending machines, can be accessed with or without a Houston Public Library card. READ MORE.

Honoring a Rich Tapestry of Diverse Communities and Culture

DeKalb County Public Library

Spanning the months of December 2023 and January 2024, the annual Doris K. Wells Heritage Festival brings an array of programs to the DeKalb County Public Library. The Doris K. Wells Heritage Festival is named in honor of DeKalb County Public Library’s first African-American librarian, the late Doris K. Wells. The festival originated in 1983 as the Kwanzaa Awareness Festival at the Scott Candler branch. READ MORE.


Guest-Written ULC Blog: "Designing a Library with Style and Substance"

Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning

"During Q&A [at the ULC Annual Forum], someone on the other side of the room took the microphone and asked, 'How can we get architects to design libraries that aren’t just for other architects?' It’s an important and complex question that we have talked about a lot about since that morning.

"Of course, architects want to design beautiful libraries that reflect and celebrate their communities. We want them to be places that attract both current users and new customers to the library and inspire them to return again and again. These are just some of the reasons why it’s essential to engage communities in the design of their libraries. Libraries also need to work well."

Read ULC's latest guest-written article from Jill Eyres and Carolyn Carlberg at Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, Inc. below!



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.




Harris County Public Library

Harris County Public Library crushed the "Surround Sound" TikTok trend to celebrate reaching 10K Instagram followers.

See the Post

Prince William Public Libraries

PWPL has officially launched "Important Library Stuff," a podcast where library staff share the inside scoop on all that happens at Prince William Public Libraries!

See the Post

Kansas City Public Library

The Kansas City Public Library has received a grant from the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation in support of youth literacy programming!

See the Post

Saint Paul Public Library

Nyob Zoo Xyoo Tshiab, Happy New Year, from the Saint Paul Public Library! Nationally, the Hmong community has been celebrating Hmong New Year throughout the past few months and will continue to do so through December.

See the Post

Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

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

Linkedin  Twitter  Instagram  Facebook