ULU Needs To ReCharge Our Batteries: Fall Fundraiser

Batteries and sunshine

Urban Librarians Unite has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last year. We have more programs, more input, more advocacy, and more trainings than we have ever had before. It’s been electrifying.

Highlights of what we are doing

  • Four Mini Libraries out in communities in Queens and Brooklyn. We estimate that we have distributed about 8,000 books through these tiny little library outposts.
  • Urban Librarians Conference. We are currently planning our THIRD conference dedicated to the needs and interests of working librarians in urban areas
  • Consultations – We are working as part of a team of architects scholars and designers to reenvision NYC branch libraries as part of a design study organized by the Architectural League of New York

As we have grown so have our expenses. We now have an office, a storage space, and an accountant to pay. None of our staff collect a salary from ULU and all of your tax deductible donated dollars go directly to keeping the org running and our programs expanding.

We have set a big fundraising goal to power ourselves up. We need to hit $5,000 before September 29th.

Please give us your support here:

Posted in Uncategorized

24hr Read-In Is Back, And This Year We’re Turning Five!

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but this June, for the fifth consecutive year, we’re hosting our 24-hour Read-In on the steps of the Central Brooklyn Public Library. From year to year, we’ve gotten the whole shebang a little more finely tuned, but our goal remains the same: bring library supporters together to call attention to the necessary, beloved, yet sorely underfunded libraries of New York City.

We achieved a big win last year when, for the first time since 2008, the budgets of the three City library systems–New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library–were preserved without any cuts. The 24-hour Read-In is just one of many ways that we advocates have kept the spotlight on the poor financial health of our City’s libraries. This year, we’re reading to demand a $65 million budget increase to bring six-day-a-week service back to all library branches across the city

The 2014 Read-In will take place from 4 p.m to 4 p.m., June 7th and 8th, in front of the Central Library in Grand Army Plaza. You’re welcome to wander by and listen, but wouldn’t you like to grab 15 minutes of microphone for yourself? Sign up here to claim your time spot and read whatever you like for a quarter of an hour.

  • Join us as we read around the clock to show how much New Yorkers love books, reading and literacy … and demand six-week service at all our libraries citywide
  • Join us to hear librarians, authors, illustrators and city council members share their favorite words
  • Join us as we honor our friend, the late Ned Vizzini (7 p.m – 8 p.m.)
  • Join us during the darkest hours, when the erotica comes out and we lovingly heckle each other (12 a.m – 2 a.m.)
  • Join us for an hour of spooky ghost stories (2 a.m – 3 a.m.)
  • Join us for a four hours of family story time (9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sunday)
  • OR … join us just to come together and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading

Sign up here.

Posted in Read In

New Yorkers Love Their Libraries

New York City loves its libraries. People are passionate about them, they feel a connection to their libraries, and have a deep personal ownership over them. New Yorkers don’t like to have their libraries messed with. They want them to have more resources and be able to do more. New Yorkers love libraries and we are looking to our political leadership to support that love.

There is, unfortunately, a Tale of Two Cities to be told about libraries in New York City. There are flagship libraries and there are branch libraries and the branch libraries are understaffed, underfunded, and breaking down. The libraries themselves continue to do incredible work even in difficult circumstances and the staff are dedicated even when they are too few.


End the tale of two libraries by funding and expanding us. Library budgets are flat from last year’s budget which is down from the three years prior. While some are saying that the  budget dance is over libraries are still doing a jig. Yes we have been baselined, but we have been baselined at 8% lower than we were ten years ago and 20% lower than we were in 2008.

Libraries are the single most democratic institution in New York City. We are a bridge of opportunity, we are aids in time of trouble, we are a safe haven for seniors and a place of potential for youth. There is no door that is more readily opened in the City and there is no place else with so much to offer any and all who pass over the threshold.


It is time to talk seriously about branch libraries. It is time to focus on the community libraries that are within walking distance of nearly each and every New Yorker. We need more resources, we need more staff, we need more funding to shore up our infrastructures and provide modern facilities for our users.

Come check out our stories at the Savenyclibraries.org website where we are talking about the moments that librarians and patrons share. We are calling for an additional $65 Million in funding for the three library systems, six day service for all libraries, and new hiring at all three institutions. Please support this by signing our petition here.



Posted in Uncategorized

ULU Supports Miami Dade County’s Coalition to Save our Libraries

Urban Librarians Unite stands with the Miami Coalition to Save Our Libraries. The current funding proposal for Miami Libraries is wholly inadequate to fund and staff a library for a major city American urban center. Miami is one of the great cities of the world, its residents deserve a world class library system.

The plan presented by Mayor Gimenez to the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the County Commission is wholly inadequate to funding a 21st century metropolitan library system. These are politically expeditious plans which do not serve the needs or interests of the people of Miami

There are two proposals on the table. The lower proposal of 30 million is absurd, and even the higher proposal of 50 million would result in unacceptable service cuts including:

reduction of service hours at 18 locations to 4 hours x 4 days a week
cancellation of interlibrary loan service
reduction of public service staff

We stand by the Coalition to Save Our Libraries. Sixty four million dollars is the only responsible funding level on the table. This funding would provide stable funding for the libraries and allow them to function in a stable manner. It would support and sustain current service levels (what hours the libraries are open, how many branch libraries are open, and what services those libraries can provide).

Librarians have always been innovators and given adequate staffing Miami’s libraries will be able to provide new and necessary support and service to one of the great cities of America.

We are proud to stand alongside our friends and colleagues at EveryLibrary, the national library PAC. Together we see Miami library as a place of potential, a place that could serve all the people of Miami. We know what libraries can do for communities and we call for adequate funding for Miami Libraries to achieve the potential of a modern urban public library.

Urban Librarians Unite

Posted in Uncategorized

ULU Needs You!


Urban Librarians Unite is calling for volunteers! We have lots of programs in play right now and lots of chances for people to step up and step out for libraries. Instead of doing a big bulk “we need help” call we have some specific projects that we would like to have people sign up for. Let us know what you would like to work on and we will get you going on it.

Volunteer Library Brigade
VLB coordinator(s) – for those of you who have trained for the VLB we are looking for 1-2 project leaders to schedule locations and events. We will get you leads and lists but we are looking for a project leader for the summer active season
VLB Members - if you have NOT trained as a member of the VLB but are interested in doing some street librarianship we will be doing 2-3 trainings in the course of the summer, let us know you are interested and we will get you trained.

5th Annual 24 Hour Read In
Aide de Camp – Christian needs a “go to” assistant to help coordinate this entire event. This person is NOT a secretary but will be a collaborator on the event (as well as taking some of the yeoman’s work). This is the fifth year for the Read In and we are looking for a big event
Ground Troops – we need people to help us prep for the event, do outreach, and be on hand to make sure the Read In goes smoothly on the day, this is a really fun event and we need all the hands we can get on it

Mini Libraries
Road Team – We are in the process of placing the Mini Libraries out in the community again, mainly in Western Brooklyn and Queens. We are looking for volunteers, preferably with transportation, who can make a monthly circuit of the boxes and make sure they are filled and in good shape

Treasurer – We need a dedicated person who can work at the Board level and act as treasurer. There will be an application process for this position.

Sign up now!


Posted in Uncategorized