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2024 Innovations Initiative Now Open!

The 2024 ULC Innovations application cycle is NOW OPEN! Entries will be accepted until August 9, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. ET. All active ULC member libraries can participate in the 2024 Innovations Initiative. A panel of judges will award one Top Innovator and one Honorable Mention for each of the 6 recognition categories. The Top Innovators in each category will receive one complimentary registration to the 2024 ULC Annual Leadership Forum.

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2024 ULC Annual Leadership Forum Registration Opening July 22

The 2024 ULC Annual Leadership Forum (October 23-25, 2024) will center around the pivotal theme of "Trust, Transformation, and Tomorrow," addressing the crucial aspects of organizational change and growth for urban public libraries. This year's Forum is designed to cater to library executives, deputy directors, marketing and communications leaders, HR leaders, and foundation and development executives. Registration opens July 22, 2024.

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White Paper | Community Engagement Matters: Learnings from the Barbershop Books Pilot for Libraries

ULC and Barbershop Books supported a small cohort of four library systems as they sought to develop barbershop-based reading spaces and increase reading opportunities for boys of color in their local communities. This new report from ULC highlights lessons learned from the pilot and each library's best practices for community engagement.

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Improving Equitable Public Access to E-Content at Libraries

How does the increased need for e-book licenses in public libraries' collections mean higher costs? ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater addresses the need for fair and equitable access and pricing for e-content in libraries across the U.S. and Canada.

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"How a Mobile Barbershop Helped Increase Childhood Reading in Cleveland"

In partnership with Barbershop Books, ULC’s Barbershop Books Pilot for Libraries supported a small cohort of libraries in 2023 and 2024 to provide reading opportunities to Black boys directly in barbershops in their local communities. The Cleveland Public Library knew participation would be beneficial as it aligned with the library's goal to put books into the community and possibly create change.

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A Case Study on Public Libraries and Economic Vitality

How are libraries recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic? This is a big question that frequently guides the research conducted by the Urban Libraries Council. While libraries with a downtown location historically contribute a significant amount of steady foot traffic and daytime population and serve as trip attractions, has that been happening since the pandemic? ULC is sharing some of our preliminary research around the connection between public libraries and economic vitality in a new case study about what is happening at the DC Public Library, and its impact on Downtown DC foot traffic.

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New Resource | Beyond Books: A Conversation Guide

This guide is intended to support hosting community conversations about the changing role of libraries, highlighting community impacts and building local support. Users will find recommendations such as developing a project plan, suggestions for inviting community stakeholders, and tips for staying connected with local community leaders after the event. Also available within the guide are brainstorming worksheets, a printable discussion guide and sample outreach materials to get you started.

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ULC's Policy and Legislative Priorities

Through engagement with lawmakers in Congress and U.S. federal agencies, ULC is advocating for several key policy positions that center the critical role that public libraries play in urban communities. ULC’s advocacy strategy seeks to garner more support and funding for policies that strengthen and advance the essential role of public libraries.

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For over 50 years, the Urban Libraries Council has served as an outcomes-driven research and innovations network of more than 170 leading North American public libraries.

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Impact Stories

Discover how ULC member libraries invigorate and inspire public libraries on our blog.

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Find out the latest news and updates on the vital issues facing ULC members.

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Get inspired by cutting-edge work that addresses key issues among the ULC membership.

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Edge 360

New benchmarks for anti-racism, digital equity, economic opportunity and education.

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Preserve Democracy

ULC believes libraries are cornerstones of democracy.

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Promote Education and Literacy

We believe libraries are critical to a knowledge economy and that education and literacy transform lives.

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Propel Economic Vitality

We believe libraries are fundamental to local economies, supporting the workforce and entrepreneurs.

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Advance Equity and Inclusion

We believe libraries are essential to helping all citizens realize their full potential.

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The Voice of Public Libraries

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.

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