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About ULC


The Urban Libraries Council has spent 50 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.

About Our Work

The Urban Libraries Council is an innovation and action tank of North America’s leading public library systems. We drive cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st-century. We identify significant challenges facing today’s communities and develop new tools and techniques to help libraries achieve stronger outcomes in education, workforce and economic development, digital equity and race and social equity.

Strategic Focus Areas

More than any civic institution, the social capital and wealth of resources that libraries provide have a positive impact on community well-being. ULC’s role is to be a collective voice showcasing libraries as essential agents that transform people and communities. To advocate the value of libraries as 21st century institutions, ULC’s work emphasizes the following strategic themes:



Education transforms the lives of individuals and is the foundation for strong, economically vital communities. In the knowledge economy, the library is the learning institution ready to guide and support residents at every age and level of need.

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Digital Equity

Libraries are critical anchors for digital access and equity in local communities. For millions of people, libraries are their gateway to the digital universe and digital readiness.

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Healthy, Sustainable Communities

Libraries are powerful partners for creating healthy, sustainable communities. With local government, business and other community organizations, libraries are key players in a strong economy, a healthy environment and racial/social equity.

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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.