ULC Member News

Newsletter | November 1, 2023


On behalf of the whole ULC team, THANK YOU to everyone who joined us last week in Seattle for the 2023 ULC Annual Forum: People, Power, Place — Today's Urban Public Library, generously sponsored by EBSCO.

We started our programming with two concurrent sessions: a CEO-to-CEO session hosting executives from libraries and their foundations, and a "What is Your Superpower? session on using data to make effective business decisions. We closed out the evening with our Welcome Reception, sponsored by Baker & Taylor! We were so glad to have Baker & Taylor President & Group CEO Aman Kochar with us for the evening!

Day two began with a warm Seattle welcome from The Seattle Public Library Chief Librarian Tom Fay and Seattle Deputy Mayor Greg Wong, and a beautiful ceremony from Elise Bill-Gerrish recognizing our presence on the lands of the Muckleshoot people.

Thursday's panels had attendees thinking of two main themes: connection and the future. Our "Libraries as Place" panel and workshop from Dr. Jeremy Nobel on the Urgency of Loneliness had attendees consider the importance of connection through the lens of creative expression. We then looked to the future of libraries with our Futures Masterclass, a look into strategic planning at The Seattle Public Library, and a panel on embracing AI for organizational advancement.

We ended the evening with a Social Hour hosted by The Seattle Public Library! Thank you to the library and reception sponsor, Baker & Taylor, for making our attendees feel so welcome in the great city of Seattle.

We closed out the Annual Forum on Friday by honing in on the strength of libraries. We dove into the future of ULC's advocacy and strategic planning with President and CEO Brooks Rainwater and ULC Board Chair Roosevelt Weeks. We then heard from Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Crosby Kemper and The New York Public Library's Brian Bannon for a conversation on the continuing role libraries play in supporting and driving literacy.

Our last panel of the Forum, "Libraries Stand Tall," moderated by ULC Board Vice Chair Pilar Martinez, discussed how ULC libraries continue to defend intellectual freedom, ensure staff and patron safety and act as a place for civic engagement and democratic values.

Thank you to our more than 200 attendees from over 90 library systems for joining us at this year's Annual Forum in Seattle! Stay tuned for a full recap article on ULC's website soon!


At last week's 2023 Annual Forum, the Urban Libraries Council and Forum sponsor EBSCO resented the 2023 ULC Advocate of the Year Award to ULC member Lance Werner, Executive Director of the Kent District Library. 

Lance Werner's journey as a library advocate has been nothing short of extraordinary. His dedication, passion, and tireless efforts have transformed libraries into beacons of knowledge, community and innovation. Lance is not merely an advocate for libraries; he embodies what libraries stand for - knowledge, inclusivity, community, and innovation. 

Lance, thank you for your relentless commitment to libraries, your unfaltering dedication to our communities, and your boundless passion for the cause. You inspire us all, and we are proud to have you as the ULC Advocate of the Year!


Bringing "Bay Beats" to the Community

San Francisco Public Library

The San Francisco Public Library is celebrating the launch of its new free music streaming service, “Bay Beats," which launched this Saturday, Oct. 28. The initiative, born of a desire to support local musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with local retailer Amoeba, offers them a platform for wider exposure. READ MORE.

Highlighting Transformative, Restorative Justice with Project ENCORE

Enoch Pratt Free Library

Enoch Pratt Free Library's Project ENCORE is a transformative restorative justice initiative dedicated to breaking down institutional obstacles and societal reintegration hurdles that contribute to reoffending. Upcoming programs include Career Connection for formerly incarcerated women and the ReCOUP Business Accelerator entrepreneurship program. READ MORE.

Advancing Interfaith Dialogue and Creating Supportive Spaces

LA County Library

As spaces of safety and community for residents, libraries and various faith organizations have much in common. This October, LA County Library launched a series of virtual roundtable conversations exploring the intersections between community service in libraries and in faith organizations. The purpose of these conversations is to encourage a broader understanding of the types of organizations that provide care and service to our communities. READ MORE.

Historic Renovation Unveiled

Hoboken Public Library

“For over 130 years the Hoboken Public Library has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of an urban population but with a firm foundation on our founded history of education and public service,” said Hoboken Public Library Director Jennie Pu. “This splendid $7 million renovation and restoration and HVAC is a major step in support of our mission to enhance community engagement and to make a lasting, meaningful impact that reaches all corners of our Mile Square City." READ MORE.



Milwaukee Public Library

Milwaukee Public Library is back at it again with another viral video! "Our visitors leave with 'pumpkin' to talk about..."

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Cleveland Public Library

Librarians by day, ghost hunters by night! After closing, Cleveland Public Library team members explored the building to look for paranormal activity!

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Memphis Public Library

Memphis Public Library showed off staff costumes in a new Reel - with everything from Wednesday Addams to Ms. Frizzle to Barbie!

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Grand Rapids Public Library

Grand Rapids Public Library presented the vibrant community Día de los Muertos parade. Check out all the incredible performers and floats!

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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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