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Advocacy Resources for Libraries

ULC Policy and Legislative Priorities

The Urban Libraries Council is driving greater advocacy for urban libraries. Through engagement with lawmakers in Congress and U.S. federal agencies, we advocate for several key policy positions that center the critical role that public libraries play in urban communities.

Why Libraries Matter

The nation's largest public libraries anchor communities and serve as hubs for economic and community advancement. They provide critical resources across employment, health, information access, civic engagement and social services for jobseekers, small businesses, immigrants, seniors, families with children, students and those bridging the digital divide.

Overview of Library Services

Libraries are not just for reading anymore. They are a quintessential third space — an accessible place outside the home or work that promotes connection, community and emotion. Libraries provide important services to residents and are a connective fiber to a wide range of people of across genders, races, ages and income levels, housed and unhoused alike.

Public Libraries: A Critical Anchor in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

As trusted public institutions, libraries are finding new and expanded roles to support their local economy, job seekers and small business owners. Libraries lead inclusive programs focused on creating economic opportunity and social mobility. They help community members build personal financial stability and contribute to the local economy. Libraries also provide job search assistance, career development programs, and resume help, as well as partner with social services agencies streamline access to workforce assistance.

Public Libraries: Pillars of Social Infrastructure

“What other institution can offer storytime for children, entrepreneurial services and financial literacy for adults, programs ranging from author talks to musical acts, and a place to work remotely or get on a Zoom call with people from across the world?” —Brooks Rainwater and Richard Florida in Bloomberg.

Public Libraries: Cornerstones of Democracy

Our libraries serve as community conveners — providing safe spaces for the exchange of ideas and information. The books and resources that public libraries have in their collections are meant to be engaged with and talked about, even when there is disagreement with their content. Public libraries are the spaces we go to learn new ideas, experience cultures unlike our own, be inquisitive and become better and more empathetic citizens.

Public Libraries: Encouraging a Lifetime of Learning

Education and literacy across a lifetime remain core to a healthy economy and strong nation. From storytimes and after-school programs for children to safe and supportive spaces for teens to adult literacy programs, libraries help meet peoples’ educational needs wherever they are in life.

Public Libraries: Essential Public and Mental Health Mandates

Urban libraries have essential mandates that are not fully recognized in federal funding opportunities, from providing access to health and mental health support to citizenship classes to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness. The programs and partnerships libraries lead around health services, affordable housing and pathways to citizenship create healthy, vibrant and diverse communities.

Public Libraries: Uplifting the American Workforce and Economy

Libraries are central hubs not only of knowledge but of the resources needed to thrive in today's rapidly evolving job market, from starting your own business to workforce training and skills development to accessing high-speed internet at the library or at home. Supporting libraries in work uplifts the American workforce and the American economy.

Additional ULC Resources

Be an Advocate for Urban Libraries

Get the names and contact information for the people who represent you on the federal, state, and local levels.

Find and contact elected officials