ULC Member News

Newsletter | June 22, 2023


Last week, the Urban Libraries Council elected its 2023-2024 Board of Directors during its Annual Member Business Meeting. ULC members elected four newly named Board officers, including:

  • Roosevelt Weeks (Director, Austin Public Library) as Chair
  • Pilar Martinez (Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library) as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
  • Michelle VonderHaar (Chief Legal Officer, Tenable) as Secretary/Treasurer
  • Karl Dean (Former Mayor, Nashville) as Immediate Past Chair

In addition to the new officers, ULC welcomed five new members to the Board of Directors, who will be serving two-year terms, including:

  • Brian Bannon (Merryl & James Tisch Director, New York Public Library)
  • Misty Jones (Director, San Diego Public Library)
  • Jennie Pu (Director, Hoboken Public Library)
  • Alim Remtulla (Director of Sales Enablement, Telus Communications; Board Chair, Toronto Public Library)
  • Catherine Strauss (Managing Partner, Ice Miller; Board of Trustees President, Columbus Metropolitan Library)

“ULC is privileged to welcome this group of visionary leaders to our Board of Directors,” said ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater. “Our newly elected officers and members bring a combination of expert knowledge and deep commitment to public libraries. I am excited to work closely with our new Board members and continue ULC’s critical work of promoting the value and importance of public libraries.”

Learn More About the Board

2023 ULC Annual Forum

ULC Annual Forum 2023: People | Power | Place

Today's Urban Public Library

This year’s Annual Forum, "People | Power | Place - Today’s Urban Public Library" will provide members with the opportunity to gather as a membership to talk about advocacy, AI, leadership, and foresight planning. Our strength as a member community lies in our ability to amplify and uplift each other, and great things can happen when we can come together.

Annual Forum registration will open on July 31. Hotel rooms are now available to book. See all details on the ULC website. 

Read Now


"Going the Extra Mile: Equity in Summer Programming"

School Library Journal

"Look at your existing [summer] programs and think about how and whether they’re serving the whole community. Really key in and focus on historically excluded communities, thinking about ways that we can lift up children of color as well as those [who] are disabled,” says ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater. “Having that holistic approach can make an incredible difference.”

A new article from School Library Journal examines how public libraries are bridging equity gaps in summer learning for children, ensuring all learners receive high-quality summer programming.

Read Now

"Can Public Spaces Help Revive Our Downtowns?"

Reimagining the Civic Commons

Across the country, many of the nation’s downtowns are struggling. An epidemic of empty office buildings, falling real estate values and shuttered small businesses has followed the prior years’ COVID-19 shutdowns; in some cities, foot traffic in downtowns is still less than half of what it was pre-pandemic. And while many experts posit solutions to this problem (like converting office buildings to housing, which could help address the housing crisis but that could also be expensive and difficult), others are starting to think more deeply about the more nuanced policies and investments that could remake the nation’s downtowns into more interesting, more desirable and more vibrant places for people.

In the spirit of these challenges, Reimagining Civic Commons asked four thought leaders — Paul Bauknight, Carol Coletta, Brooks Rainwater and Mitchell Silver — for their ideas about how to solve the nation’s downtown crisis — and to illustrate the key role that public spaces could play in a downtown comeback.

Read Now

Illinois Makes History with Signing of New Book Ban Law

Chicago Public Library

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law designed to discourage libraries from banning books. The first-in-the-nation law is a defense against a nationwide trend demanding that books be removed from library shelves. The signing ceremony took place at Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Branch, surrounded by librarians and educators.

“I think it’s going to impact the community of libraries in Illinois,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown. “In Chicago, we are extremely proud of our book sanctuary initiative. … We are safe spaces for all voices and materials." READ MORE.

Let's Talk Race Curriculum

Richland Library

Richland Library is creating opportunities for civic engagement, building community connections and encouraging courageous conversations using its newest open-source community resource, the Let's Talk Race Curriculum. The free curriculum, launched in June 2023, provides opportunities for small groups and large organizations to learn from trained facilitators how to customize the Let's Talk Race experience to meet their needs. READ MORE.

Taking a Stand on Intellectual Freedom

Ottawa Public Library

A recent article outlines Ottawa Public Library's updated intellectual freedom position statement, which essentially states that users have unfettered access to any information, as long as it is legal according to Canadian courts.

“We have made our own bold statement about how we intend to live this value. I think we have always stood for that, but we’ve never planted the flag and made our own claim,” said Sonia Bebbington, Ottawa Public Library's CEO. READ MORE.

"The Most Lit All-Nighter Ever"

Brooklyn Public Library

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, Brooklyn Public Library hosted “Night in the Library: The Philosophy of Hip-Hop.“ On Saturday, June 17, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., the event took over the landmark Central Library with keynote talks, music, conversations, debates, and activities inspired by the genre’s music and culture.

More than 4,000 people gathered overnight for what organizers are calling one of the largest celebrations of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop to take place this year.  READ MORE.

DCPL Makes History with New Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit

DC Public Library

From June 21 to August 20, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown DC will present “Imagining the Future—Leonardo da Vinci: In the Mind of an Italian Genius.” The exhibition will feature 12 original drawings from the Codex Atlanticus: 12 volumes of the musings, sketches, and diagrams of Leonardo da Vinci. It’s the first time they’ll be seen in the US. READ MORE.


Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

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

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