Past Conferences

2021 – Liberation and Joy

Libraries are often thought of as places first, whether as book repositories as community spaces, or even as ad hoc social service offices. What if we began to see  them as spaces for community liberation instead? What if we saw libraries  as a vehicle for creating joy? 

What would that look like, and how would that change our libraries and ourselves?

The 2021 Urban Librarians Conference will focus on librarians and library staff creating spaces and dreaming up services that help our communities pull together even when things are terrible. What parts of your work do you feel liberate yourself or others? What aspects of your work create joy for you and those in your community?  Join ULU and a few hundred of your closest library friends and share what fuels your library.


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2020 – Caution! Librarians at Work

The 2020 Urban Librarians Conference, “Caution: Librarians at Work!” will be focusing on the pragmatic realities of working urban librarians. Including topics like , working conditions, trauma in the workplace, mid-career development, badass library workers, diversity in the library workforce, rights and protections for staff, and philosophies of work and management.

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2019 – Libraries as Place

Whether your library is a grand historic edifice or a fast popup in a strip mall it is, at its essence a physical place. Reading, community building, sharing and existing, all of it, derives from the space itself. Librarians in urban centers across the country are reimagining their space as not a warehouse, but the beating heart of the community. This years’ Urban Librarians Conference will focus on how we use that space. How do front line staff make space for their communities and what does “making space for their communities” even mean? How do you work in a community in a crappy building designed to be last century’s cutting edge library and keep that edge for your community now? How do you use your space to bring people together and connect them not only to the information and resources they need but also to each other?

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2018 – Library Revolution

The sixth Urban Librarians Conference will take place on April 13th 2018 at Brooklyn Public Library’s majestic Central library at Grand Army Plaza. The theme this year is Library Revolution and we will be featuring revolutionary librarianship from across the country. Our keynote is library revolutionary Jessamyn West and topics will include racial representation in publishing, code switching, and libraries as tools of peace.

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2017 – Dangerous Librarianship

urban librarians conference logo dangerous librarianship april 7, 2017

Dangerous Librarianship – Librarians are innately radical. They believe in free access to knowledge for any and all people. That is just DANGEROUS THINKING and we do it all the time. This year’s conference promises to focus on this librarianship on the edge. We will be looking at social justice as a function of librarianship, ways that you can get out and be more embedded in your community, new ways of managing, new concepts in training.

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2016 – Weird Library Science

Welcome to the fourth Urban Librarians Conference! (yeah we can’t believe it either) And here we all are, ready to talk about the crazy ways that libraries and librarians push the envelope of library science. Presentations today will include everything from advocacy, maker spaces, creative literacy programming, events for the elusive 20 – 30 somethings, and library employment to (gasp) leaving the building! 

Now to get get through the day without setting anything on fire….

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2015 – Life Literacy Libraries

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2014 – Next Stop – Libraries

Are you an information professional working in a busy city library, archive or other information institution? Are you passionate about the challenges (and joys) of urban librarianship? Would you like to learn new skills and techniques for those on the front line of information services? Do you want to contribute to the growing conversation around the role of the urban librarian?  Working urban librarians often find themselves saying “well that is great but it will never work in MY library”. This conference will only offer ideas that would work in an urban library. Practice will be paired with the practical, the ideas and concepts discussed will be tied to practical courses of action that working information professionals can use for the benefit of their patrons and institutions.

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2013

Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) is spearheading the first Conference to focus specifically on the issues of the working librarian in the city. The Conference will be held at the Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library, and will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5th. Registration is $25 ($22.50 for NYLA members).

The Conference will target skills and techniques for people on the front line of information services in urban areas. The Urban Librarians’ Conference seeks to embrace all of the potential inherent in change. These are indeed very interesting times for libraries and librarianship and an incredible amount of innovative work is happening in city libraries all across America. 

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