ULC Member News

Newsletter | December 13, 2023


Library Insights Survey: How the Pandemic Impacted ULC Members 

The COVID-19 pandemic immensely changed how public libraries operate and serve their communities. A new collection of data gathered by ULC establishes a better understanding of pre- and post-pandemic library services and operations.  

The first-ever Library Insights Survey compiles data from 98 member libraries in the U.S. and Canada and provides a snapshot of library services and operations since the pandemic began. Here are five takeaways from the survey: 

  1. In-person visits to libraries are gradually recovering from pandemic lows. 
  2. eResources continue to be very popular for patrons, though average circulation dipped between 2019 and 2022.  
  3. Post-pandemic computer usage, room reservations and wireless sessions at the library are evolving. 
  4. Libraries are seeking to find a balance with program design and attendee demand since the pandemic. 
  5. Surveyed libraries reported an average 8% budget increase between FY2019 and FY2022 (not adjusted for inflation).  

Click here to read an overview of the survey results. “The Library Insights Survey serves as a guidepost for the resiliency of libraries and the bright spot they hold in our cities. This data demonstrates how libraries are strengthening their operations and purposefully serving their communities since the pandemic,” writes ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater. 

But most importantly, we created a ULC member tool with interactive dashboards, maps and charts for you to dig deeper into this new data resource.  

ULC Library Data Hive

Visit the new Library Data Hive section of the ULC Member Hub to explore these tools developed exclusively for ULC members! Select one of the four Library Insights Survey topic areas to see the results dashboard for every library in the dataset. There are also comparative analysis dashboards that provide snapshots of the 2019 and 2022 averages for each data set, so you can see the changes pre- and post-pandemic for every library that completed the survey. 

Click here to sign in to the ULC Member Hub and get started. The ULC Data Hive is best accessed using a laptop or desktop computer. 

We are incredibly excited about this new data tool for ULC members. Thank you to all the libraries that contributed to the Library Insights Survey. 



ULC is gearing up to unveil our new and improved Member Hub in early January. Make a note on your calendars to check out the launch and explore the updated features of the ULC Member Hub.

Please be advised, that your login credentials and Member Profile details will be transferred to the new system — meaning your account info will not change!

With the new Member Hub comes new features, like our brand new Member Communities. Member Communities are the same Member Groups that our members know and love, but with new additional features. Member Groups and their conversations can now be held within the Member Hub (in addition to the email listserv you are used to), and you can also message fellow library staff privately in one-on-one conversations.

ULC’s Knowledge Exchange has been a staple in the library ULC community since it’s inception. The updated Knowledge Exchange updates include advanced searching capabilities, advanced filtering, and a document submission system.

The brand new Member Directory allows library staff to search, sort through a plethora of filters and advanced criteria, as well as message the staff person directly in the Member Hub interface.

These are just some of the additions and improvements you can expect in 2024! If you have any questions, please contact mwims@urbanlibraries.org.


Bringing Overdose Response and Prevention to the Library

Edmonton Public Library

You wouldn’t expect to find an overdose response and prevention team at a library, but Edmonton Public Library's flagship location is going next level to take care of some of its most vulnerable citizens. Nurses Tabatha Plesuk and Blake Loathes work with EPL as part of a pilot program under the city's Downtown Vibrancy Strategy. READ MORE.

Mellon Foundation Awards Grants for Memory Lab Expansion

Richmond Public Library and San Diego Public Library

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently granted two ULC member libraries — Richmond Public Library and San Diego Public Library — significant awards to expand Digital Memory Lab services. Memory Labs are a treasured resource for library patrons to digitize and memorialize pieces of personal history. READ MORE.

Strategic Planning for the Future

The Seattle Public Library

"You really see the library being, in many cases, that only third space that people can go to that is free space, the place just to be," says Tom Fay, Executive Director and Chief Librarian of The Seattle Public Library. "There used to be a lot more of them, and I think what you see is the library taking on that role in so many areas of the city... It’s an important part for libraries, an important role."

SPL's Tom Fay recently sat down for an interview with The Urbanist to discuss the library's strategic planning process and how it will shape the library for the future. READ MORE.


Publisher's Weekly Profile: Baker & Taylor's Aman Kochar

In its December 11th issue, Publisher's Weekly shared a profile on Baker & Taylor owner and CEO Aman Kochar, who is a staunch supporter and innovator of libraries — particularly as a Corporate Partner of ULC! Now in his third year as B&T’s owner, Kochar said his vision for the company’s next act has taken root. B&T employees are “reimagining” the way B&T supports its library and educational partners, with the goal of creating a company where libraries know they can get books but also “the best of breed software and content solutions.”

“We’re not in the library business,” Kochar said. “We are in the business of celebrating and championing libraries.”

Read the full article from Publisher's Weekly below.



2023 PLA Technology Survey

Did you know that starting next year, more than $1.4 billion in federal funding will be distributed to states to support digital equity work? The Public Library Association (PLA) is committed to using data to advocate with and for public libraries, which is why they are asking all U.S. public libraries to participate in the 2023 Technology Survey. Your participation will help PLA measure and share emerging trends around tech resources, infrastructure, digital literacy, staff, and budget. You'll also be able to access data visualizations and compare results to peer- and national-level data in PLA's Benchmark. As a bonus, all participants will be entered into a drawing to win free group registration for a PLA webinar! The deadline to participate is December 16, 2023. Learn more and participate.

PLA 2024 Conference Registration

The Public Library Association (PLA) invites you to join thousands of public library workers, supporters, and vendors in Columbus, Ohio, April 3–5, to celebrate all things public libraries! The PLA 2024 Conference offers more than 100 thoughtfully curated education sessions, inspiring speakers and authors, engaging networking opportunities, career services, micro-learning moments, and a bustling exhibits hall featuring the latest in products, services, and innovations. PLA and Ohio Library Council (OLC) members save with the Early Bird discount now through January 12, 2024. Learn more and register at www.placonference.org.



Hennepin County Library

A cast of "prehistoric characters" helped ring in the celebration of Hennepin County Library's historic Linden Hills branch preservation project.

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Portland Public Library

A new post from the Portland Public Library features the library's 1966 Fawn Fleetwood cigarette vending machine - brought back to life this year to share healthy and fun goodies!

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Barrie Public Library

The Barrie Public Library has announced that it recently reached a membership milestone, welcoming 12,000 new members so far this year. Congrats!

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

See a preview of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Staff Art Show, on display through mid-January, showcasing the creativity and skill of library staff from all over the system.

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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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