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Research and Data

Research and Data

    In 2023, the Urban Libraries Council launched a renewed focus on our ability to do research, conduct data analysis and create data visualizations about urban libraries. In order to lay the groundwork for the future of public libraries, we must know where we currently are. ULC will use this expanded focus on data-driven solutions development to align technical assistance, develop member programming, and create original research products.

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    CTG UAlbany Partnership

    ULC and the University at Albany’s Center for Technology in Government (CTG UAlbany) are partnering to examine how libraries can empower communities to better understand Artificial Intelligence and ensure its ethical design and application. This three-year research project, funded through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will include surveys and interviews with ULC member libraries, case studies, a comprehensive report and a practitioners’ guide for libraries.

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    Explorations of Generative AI for Library Systems

    Leadership Brief

    This Leadership Brief outlines five ways libraries can integrate cutting-edge artificial intelligence in their work. From leveraging prompt engineering skills of staff members to using AI to advance information literacy, libraries should be preparing for a swift integration of AI across library services, resources and operations.

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    How Library Visits Create Daytime Foot Traffic and Promote Economic Vitality in Downtowns

    Case Study: DC Public Library

    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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    Libraries as Spaces of Innovation and Productivity

    White Paper

    ULC's white paper, Libraries as Spaces for Innovation and Productivity, explores the importance of congregation in a post-pandemic world, particularly the role of libraries as reliable structures, attractions, and prime choices for visits even as we experience a great upheaval of spaces in which people prioritize spending time.

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    ULC and

    ULC is thrilled to announce an exciting and new partnership with, a location analytics technology company. With, ULC members can get a discounted subscription to a best-in-class software solution that uses foot traffic data to help library leaders implement stronger impact evaluation practices. We will also use to inform new research to make the case that libraries are driving visits to downtown areas and are an economic driver for cities.

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    ULC Library Data Hive

    The ULC Data Hive displays the data collected from the Library Insights Survey — as well as publicly available demographic information — in interactive dashboards, charts and maps. The Library Data Hive is available only to ULC members.

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    ULC Library Insights Survey - Top 5 Takeaways

    ULC launched the inaugural "Library Insights Survey," a data collection that establishes a better understanding of pre- and post-pandemic library services and operations. Nearly 100 ULC members provided data for their libraries around the topics of Attraction and Attendance, Location Experience and Use of Space, Programs and Services and Staffing and Budget.

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