As the premier membership organization of North America's leading public library systems and the organizations that serve them, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has spent more than 40 years enriching communities by strengthening and promoting the value of libraries as essential public assets.

ULC provides a forum for library leaders to share best practices and innovative ideas that inspire programs that support 21st century learning, a strong economy, and an active democracy. ULC programs are recognized for creating new frameworks that invigorate public libraries and their communities.

Strategic Focus

ULC’s focus areas are foundational priorities designed to support leading libraries and to build strong communities. These focus areas guide research, programs and publications, partnerships, communications, conferences and webinars. To advocate the value of libraries as 21st century institutions, ULC’s work emphasizes the following strategic themes:

  • Education and Lifelong Learning – Education transforms the lives of individuals and is the bedrock of vital communities and strong economies. In the knowledge economy, the public library is a critical education institution along with public schools. The library is unique in supporting the education of all residents at every age and level of need.
  • Digital Evolution – Libraries are critical anchors for digital access and equity in local communities. For millions of people, libraries are their only gateway to the digital universe. To support the digital evolution transforming library practice, ULC spearheads new research, knowledge products and tools.
  • Healthy, Sustainable Communities – Libraries are powerful partners for creating sustainable communities. With local government, business and other community organizations, libraries are engines for economic vitality, workforce development, health and wellness, environmental quality and an engaged citizenry.

Goals and Key Activities

To achieve its mission, ULC has set goals to:

  • Provide ideas, knowledge, tools and techniques that will help library leaders in their work with people and their communities.
  • Lead and recognize innovations that drive leading practices in libraries and local communities.
  • Support leaders, those who are leading libraries as well as those leaders supporting libraries, in the public and private sectors.

ULC strengthens the 21st century library and the community it serves by:

  • Connecting members to cutting edge ideas, leaders, experts and research.
  • Creating and supporting the ongoing development of a robust community of practice.
  • Supporting current and next generation leaders through innovative professional development.
  • Identifying forward-thinking library concepts and frameworks for the creation of new business models.
  • Building strong partnerships with funders, local government and civic leaders.