ULC Member News

Newsletter | July 5, 2023


Libraries Stand for Democracy

From the CEO

"As ULC libraries celebrate Canada Day and Independence Day, I am reflective on the rights and freedoms our two great nations hold dear. As leaders of public libraries, ULC members have been experiencing challenges to these very values. It is difficult to know where to begin when these hardships arise, but I know we can all take heart in the commitment ULC libraries have made to protect these foundations of democracy."

Hear from ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater about ULC members' recent work to protect democracy. This article features ULC's most recent leadership brief: Libraries as Cornerstones of Democracy

Read Now


Every single day, public libraries are performing vital work to ensure all community members are informed and active in protecting democracy and intellectual freedom.

ULC's brand new Leadership Brief: Libraries as Cornerstones of Democracy urges library executives to embody the value of ULC’s Declaration of Democracy by supporting and promoting the preservation of rights and active citizenry. The Brief also spotlights the work of eight exemplary ULC member libraries in the U.S. and Canada that empower their patrons through various programs and services.

While protecting democracy and intellectual freedom is essential, conversations around these topics can often be nuanced and intimidating. ULC’s supplemental resource Talking About Democracy and Free Expression in Public Libraries offers answers to frequently asked questions and explanations of commonly used phrases when discussing the library’s role as a cornerstone of democracy.

Learn More


"Rooftops, cafes and Zoom rooms: Libraries evolve to serve remote workers"

The Washington Post

"Long before WeWork, libraries were the original co-working spaces."

ULC's CEO Brooks Rainwater spoke with The Washington Post about the recent resurgence in the public library's popularity as a working space, especially in the pandemic recovery period. DC Public Library, LA County Library, Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library and Boston Public Library are just a few examples of libraries seeing this rising trend.

“We’re seeing more young professionals, people working on their own businesses or working remotely,” says Skye Patrick, director for the LA County Library. “A lot of people forgot how important it is to have some sort of adjacency, a way to socialize.”

Read Now

Meeting the "Justice Initiatives" Team

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library's "Justice Initiatives" program provides incarcerated patrons access to virtual telecommunication, library materials, research, and correspondence tools. PEN America sat down with the team at BPL that plays a crucial role in helping incarcerated people maintain connections to their loved ones on the outside, improve their literacy skills, and prepare for successful reentry into their communities. READ MORE.

L.A. County Expands E-Book Access

L.A. County Library

On June 27, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors authorized the expansion of the digital library card from just L.A. County residents to residents of all cities and counties in the state.

“Book banning and book restricting is on the rise across the country, and it is certainly happening in Southern California. If other areas of California are restricting access to materials, the L.A. County Library would be there to provide that access,” said Wendy Crutcher, L.A. County Library’s collection development director. READ MORE.

What 150 Years of Service 'Looks Like'

Columbus Metropolitan Library

In celebration of its 150 years, the Columbus Metropolitan Library asked 24 artists to create works that in some way pay tribute to the resources, work and impact of the library.

Stephanie Rond, director of the Carnegie Gallery at the Main Library, selected the artists and asked them to consider “what public libraries mean — specifically how they’re open to all — and what 150 years of service looks like.” READ MORE.

Celebrating Ballroom at the Renaissance Ball

Enoch Pratt Public Library

Baltimore photographer SHAN Wallace, whose year as the Enoch Pratt Public Library's first artist-in-residence came to a close last week, wanted to mark the occasion – and the end of Pride Month – with a celebration of Baltimore’s ballroom scene and the queer community with the first-ever Renaissance Ball. The ball was part of the library's new Final Fridays series, with the Central Branch library hosting a different after-hours event on the last Friday of every month. READ MORE.


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. 

Learn More


Questions? Want to Submit a Story?

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

Linkedin  Twitter  Instagram  Facebook