ULC Member News

Newsletter | October 11, 2023

Note: Due to the 2023 ULC Annual Forum taking place October 25-27, the next ULC Member News newsletter will be sent out on Wednesday, November 1.


Panel Discussion: Libraries Stand Tall and Rising to the Occasion

Friday, October 27 | 10:15 to 11:00 a.m.

ULC library leaders play a vital role in defending intellectual freedom, ensuring the safety of their staff and patrons and maintaining the library's integrity as a place for civic engagement and democratic values. By taking proactive measures and seeking support from ULC and the outside the library community, leaders can navigate these complex challenges as a collective.

This panel will empower leaders with practical strategies and thoughtful insights to navigate challenges effectively, maintain the library's role as a defender of intellectual freedom and build resilience in the face of challenging situations. 


  • Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library  


  • Allison Grubbs, Director, Broward County Library
  • Jason Kuhl, CEO, St. Charles City-County Library District
  • Lance Werner, Executive Director, Kent Library District 
  • Roosevelt Weeks, Director, Austin Public Library 


The 2023 ULC Annual Forum: People, Power, Place — Today’s Urban Public Library — Welcome Reception and Member Reception are generously sponsored by Baker & Taylor. We thank Baker & Taylor for their sponsorship of this event and ongoing support of ULC’s work and membership.


Explorations of Generative AI for Library Systems

ULC Leadership Brief

As generative AI tools like ChatGPT become more accessible, effective and less expensive, there are new opportunities libraries to lead. A new leadership brief is now available from ULC that outlines the five ways libraries can integrate cutting-edge artificial intelligence in their work. From leveraging prompt engineering skills of staff members to using AI to advance information literacy, libraries should be preparing for a swift integration of AI across library services, resources and operations. The brief also includes insights from library leaders in Boston, Multnomah County (OR), New York City, Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose. 

How is your library using generative AI? Let us know. View this leadership brief and more on ULC's Publications webpage. 


Celebrating Banned Books Week!

ULC Libraries

Our member libraries were very busy during Banned Books Week! Here are some ways our members celebrated:

Joining Books Unbanned: In addition to The Seattle Public Library, which joined Brooklyn Public Library's Books Unbanned initiative earlier this year, the Boston Public Library, LA County Library and San Diego Public Library announced last week that they are joining the well-known initiative.

Educating the Public: Jennifer Henecke, chief engagement officer for the St. Joe County Public Library, joined local 16 News Now at Noon to discuss the week and how the library highlights the value of free and open access to information.

Committing to Inclusivity: Many libraries, like Sonoma County Library and Dallas Public Library, used Banned Books Week to reshare their system's commitment to free expression and inclusion for all.

Introducing ULC's Newest Member

Lawrence Public Library

Join us in welcoming ULC's newest library member — Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas! LPL serves the City of Lawrence, and, through its membership in the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), all of the citizens of the NEKLS multi-county regional library system. After a 2014 renovation, the Lawrence Public Library won the AIA/ALA Library Building Award in 2016. Look at that gorgeous space! Learn more about Lawrence Public Library.

Supporting a $30M Investment in Increased Digital Access

Pima County Public Library

Did you know that in addition to Banned Books Week, last week was also Digital Inclusion Week? The Pima County Public Library has been hard at work for years supporting the Connect Pima initiative — a hugely important program as almost one in ten households in Pima County currently have no broadband or Internet access at all, and many more have poor connection speed. READ MORE.

Libraries on the "Front Lines" of Homelessness

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library

“We are on the front lines,” said Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library Director Paula Brehm-Heeger. “We always have been.”

A new article from The Cincinnati Enquirer highlights how the library provides services for people experiencing homelessness and works to improve circumstances.




Access to credit is challenging for many who want to open a first-time food business or restaurant—and historically it has been practically impossible for people of color. Funded with a scoping grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Walmart Foundation, Food & Society at the Aspen Institute has created Open Access: Equitable Equity For Food Entrepreneurs, which aims to lower barriers to financing and business ownership.


The first phase of the initiative is Open Access, an open-source code web portal for local governments or organizations to customize with start-up and working capital financing, education, and support resources — available to cities and other organizations at no cost. Designed to be “out of the box” ready, it is also adaptable to provide easy access to food entrepreneurs looking for technical assistance, capital, and credit in their communities that will help them plan, launch, and grow their businesses.


For public libraries working to advance food justice and equitable entrepreneurship opportunities, Open Access could be a great resource to share with your patrons. Visit the Open Access webpage to access a User Guide, download the code and receive more information to work with Food & Society to launch Open Access in the community you serve.



The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying emerging talents in the library world—both great leaders and behind-the-scenes contributors who are providing inspiration and model programs for others. The 21st annual round of Movers & Shakers will profile up-and-coming individuals from around the world who are innovative, creative, and making a difference fighting against censorship, and helping improve their workplace. From librarians and non-degreed library workers to publishers, vendors, coders, entrepreneurs, reviewers, and others who impact the library field—Movers & Shakers 2024 will celebrate those people who are moving all types of libraries ahead!

Please use the form below to submit nominations. Submissions will close on October 23, 2023.



Howard County Library System

Last week, HCLS hosted its Longest Table event, bringing together community members to share a meal and learn about each other.

See the Post

San Diego County Library

Did you know there's a solar eclipse coming up? San Diego County Library shared the safest ways to view it.

See the Post

Boise Public Library

Last week, the Boise Public Library held the 11th annual Boise Comic Art Festival at the Idaho State Museum.

See the Post

Cleveland Public Library

A new art installation called "The Archive" at Cleveland Public Library is a collection of about 400,000 dried flowers!

See the Post

Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

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

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