Awesome Shit Happening @ NYLA 2018

Awesome Shit Happening at NYLA – 4th Edition

It’s librarian migration season again, and where are we headed this year but Rochester New York?! Once again we gather together to think deep thoughts. And also have fun, yes?

Guess what? ULU has a booth!

That’s right, we have so much stuff going on this year that we figured we couldn’t tell you about all of it without a booth!

Pop by and visit us at Booth 14 to learn all about what ULU has going on now, and the amazing things that are coming up next!

Our raffle is the best raffle

So we convinced our fearless leader, Executive Director Jeremy Johannesen to let us raffle off the opportunity to pie him in the face! Yay! Drop by our booth to buy a raffle ticket!

One ticket = $3
Four tickets = $10
Ten tickets = $20

Monthly ULU donors get a free raffle ticket!!


Let’s get to the important bits first yes?

NYLA Afterhours – Stupid Librarian Tricks

Center City Lounge @ The Hyatt
November 8, 2018

  • What is your party trick that nobody knows about?
  • Are you a yodeler, a yo-yoer, or a yoloer?
  • Can you recite all 50 states in two minutes or less? Spin a plate? Play the ukulele?

This is NOT a talent show, this is a chance for you to share those special abilities that nobody knows are hidden in the library.

Drop ins are welcome but if you want to let us know what you have in store for the crowd so we can wear extra socks (to cover for the ones you will be knocking us out of) please catch us at the conference or email us here

As usual this Late night party is a fundraiser. This year we will be collecting money to support a bookdrive that ULU is doing for unaccompanied minors in detention in Yonkers NY. It’s a great cause and a great facility and every penny donated will go directly to putting books into the hands of kids who were picked up at the border.

NYLA presents Battle Decks!
Friday, November 9
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Not  a party, but as fun as a party! Improv meets public speaking: courageous volunteers tackle a live presentation based on PowerPoints slides that they have NEVER seen before. Hilarity will ensue. This is a free event.


Are you looking for the best time you have ever had at a library conference?  If so, you won’t be disappointed by coming to the NY4BL KARAOKE and DRAG SHOW 2018!
Come to the party, sing, listen, clap, drink, be amazed and awed…it’s all part of the NY4BL Karaoke and Drag Show 2018! Experience.

Friday, November 9th at 140 Alex Bar & Grill, located at 140 Alexander Street. Karaoke begins at 9:30 pm, followed by the best drag show in Rochester at 11 pm.
Tickets are $20 in advance for regular admission, or $100 for VIP admission (VIPs receive drink tickets and a custom t-shirt). Admission will also be available at the door for $25

Sessions That Sound Awesome


9:00 – 10:15 AM
Our Voices Together: How Conversations Create Change
Leah Esguerra & Jennifer Keys

In 2009, the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Department of Public Health entered into an innovative program that started with an unusual partnership. This pairing resulted in the placement of a licensed social worker, Leah Esguerra at the Main Library to link homeless patrons to housing and social services. Collaborative efforts between an urban public library and community-based organizations were instrumental in achieving new breakthroughs with an underserved population of patrons that librarians traditionally struggled to assist. Plus, a job-training component was added, providing opportunities for people who were formerly homeless to return to the workforce.

4:00 – 5:15 PM

Engaging Your Community
NYS has libraries that serve some of the smallest and largest communities in the country. We will discuss ideas and different approaches to help your library connect with varied constituencies.

Brian Hasbrouck, Brooklyn Public Library
Thomas Vitale, Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System
Syntychia Kendrick-Samuel, Uniondale Public Library

Bringing Library Literacy to Classroom Teachers
Learn about a successful model to teach fundamental library, research, and information literacy skills to preK-12 educators by offering professional development programming out of your library.

Amy Mikel, Brooklyn Public Library
Carolyn Bennett Glauda, Southeastern NY Library Resources Council


8:30 – 9:45 AM
Serving Refugees: Working Together as a Community
Maplewood Community Library collaborates with various community partners that serve refugees. Learn about the many programs and services that are available in the Rochester area for that vulnerable population.

Evanna DiSalvo, Maplewood Community Library

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Discovery Through Literacy and Science

Literacy and science are both gateways to knowledge and understanding. Their synthesis nurtures curiosity, exploration and confidence in learners. Brain-building is accomplished through innovative programming, materials, and unique assessment strategies.

Indira Mukherjee, Queens Library
Lynn Cole, Queens Library
Mary Blieka, Queens Library

2:15 – 3:00PM
Conversation with a Bunch of Millennials **ULU Sponsored Program**
Explore the hottest topics hitting your feeds with a panel of millennials and learn how to engage in discussions about social justice while bypassing voyeuristic dialogues.

Jhani Miller, Urban Librarians Unite
Anastasia Chiu, Stony Brook University
Christina Gavin, Herbert H. Lehman HS

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Libraries are for Everyone
As institutions and community hubs, libraries should always be striving to be more inclusive and welcoming to ALL members of their community by providing a welcoming environment, resources, information, and programming. This also includes providing learning opportunities and conversations so that community members can learn about each other and the world at large.

Andrea Snyder, Pioneer Library System


9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Libraries Respond to the Opioid Overdose Epidemic
Engage with library leaders and learn how New York State libraries are responding to the opioid overdose epidemic. This panel discussion will include representatives from public, school and academic libraries.

Frank Rees, New York State Library, Division of Library Development
Thomas Vitale, Chautauqua-Cattaragus Library System
Matt Pfisterer, Middletown Thrall Library

Support Unaccompanied Minors With ULU

We here at ULU say that every child has a right to storytime.

There are kids who came to this country unaccompanied and are now being held in centers across America. Every time we see these stories we feel powerless, without hope, as if our nation has abandoned us and we are watching it fade away into the mist.


Urban Librarians Unite is partnering with an excellent children’s services agency that is housing and helping unaccompanied minors.This community of about 100 kids under the age of 17 deserve to have books for education and entertainment. You can literally put books into their hands.

Go to our wishlist on Amazon and make a difference for these kids today.

Can’t send books or want to do more?
If you want to help out more we would love your financial support. We are working with First Books and other vendors to ensure that we get the best value for the support you give. You can donate directly to our book drive via PayPal. (please add a note to your donation to tell us to allocate it here).

We believe that when times are tough you go with what you know. We know the joy and comfort that books can offer. You can do your part to give them some of that comfort.

Questions? Trouble ordering? See our FAQ.

Storytime Protest Kit

photo of a storytime in the park with the text storytime protest kit over the photo

Many librarians are drawn to the profession by the opportunity to be of service to our community. We spend our days connecting people to the information they need, supporting early literacy, helping people look for jobs and health information, and so much more. As a caring profession we often also find ourselves in the streets protesting with our neighbors. One thing we can do is bring our skills into the streets with us, just like we did at the Families Together March on June 30th 2018.

Please see below for a brochure version of our Storytime Protest Kit, adapted to work for a variety of issues, with logistics supplies and starter book lists.

We’ll see you out there! Download Storytime Protest Kit

Protest Storytime Kit


Protests can be about sharing information, expressing your values, and being heard. As librarians, we know that storytime can be subversive, storytime can be protest, and storytime can be a way of talking about issues in an age appropriate way.  Holding a storytime at a rally can be a great way to keep kids occupied and learning during the waiting periods.

Please join us and bring storytime to your local protest.


  • Lightweight blanket (more if possible 1 blanket = about five kids)
  • 8-12 picture books (see lists for suggestions)
  • Posters and protest signs
  • Enthusiasm & a Loud Storytelling voice
  • Sunscreen


  • Meet at a set point
  • Travel together to march start (if a march, if the rally is in a set location, try to arrive together to avoid having to hunt each other down, we find meeting at a less heavily trafficked location 45 minutes before works well)
  • Have your talking points ready (see below) Why are you there? What are you reading? Why these books?
  • Please let us know you went, and send us photos and the location.

Talking Points

  • Every child has a right to storytime
  • Every child has a right to have access to a librarian
  • Normal life is love, learning, creativity, and stability. For librarians and teachers all of this comes out in storytime
  • Write one of your own about why you are at that particular event


Social Justice Booklist

ALSC Unity Kindness and Peace List 

ALSC Working Together for Justice List

Supporting Immigrant Families Booklist from Brooklyn Public Library

Living Green Booklist from SFPL

A Mighty Girl’s 50 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

Goodreads Black Lives Matter list

A Rainbow Celebration: Gays & Lesbians in Books for Children from SFPL

We want to keep adding to the booklists, so if you have a suggestion, send it in using the Contact Us page!

Join us in storytime protests

Currently the United States Government is holding thousands of children separate and apart from their families in detention centers across the country. Toddlers are being forced to appear in court without their parents, families are being told that if they apply for asylum they will never be reunited, and the government has done nothing more than offer lip service to the complexities of reuniting these families.

We say NO! We say this is unacceptable. We cannot bear silent witness to this abomination of American society. We will speak persistently, loudly and often. WE WILL NOT BE SHUSHED.

Urban Librarians Unite has been using storytime as protest for many years. We are joining in the rallies to reunite families by offering storytime at protests. Children should be with their families and those families should be able to go to storytime. Every child has a right to storytime.

Please take a look at this document that has suggestions about how you can do storytime at protests in support of these families. On the practical side, there are gonna be a lot of kids at these events and this is a great way to engage families and children in solidarity and support.We hope that one day of those kids will be able to attend a great storytime in a local library with their families. Let’s keep a spot open for them. It’s an easy, effective, and powerful way to raise your voice in support of kids and families.

We will not be shushed!

Libraries and Resources for Temporary Protected Status Holders

By Johana Orellana

The Secretary of Homeland Security designates Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to countries based on conditions in that  country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  

TPS was established by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990. Foreign nationals with TPS protections are generally able to obtain work authorization and a driver’s license, but the TPS designation is subject to U.S. government review and can only be extended for up to 18 months. Salvadorans are by far the largest group of TPS holders. There is ongoing debate about whether migrants who have been living in the United States for long periods of time with TPS should receive a pathway to legal permanent resident (LPR) status.

The following countries were designated with TPS set to expire in 2019, except for Honduras, which is set to expire in July 2018. The figures included are the number of individuals with TPS, as of October 2017: Salvadorians (262,528), Haitians (58,557), Honduras (86,031), and Nicaraguans (5,306).

Why is this important to libraries? Libraries provide access to all members of our communities, not matter their gender, race, status, or human condition. The Core Values of Librarianship states,  “We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve.” With this in mind, many communities will be affected by the termination of TPS to previously designated countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Particularly large cities like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, Houston, etc., where many TPS holders reside. In particular, the 273,000 children who are U.S. citizens, but whose parents are TPS holders. The following are some ways that libraries can help families affected by the termination of TPS.  

One agency that librarians should be aware of is local Salvadorian, Haitian, Honduran, and Nicaraguan consulates. Patrons may need to go to their consulates to obtain birth certificates or other official documents. Librarians should know and provide patrons with consulate contact information. Consulates may not be able to help answer specific questions regarding the TPS application process. However, if you notice an increase in referrals or questions about consulates reach out to the individual consulate to prepare the agency to help their citizens.

Libraries can also refer patrons to CARECEN, the Central American Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost immigration legal services, community education programs, and advocacy and organizing to achieve fair and more inclusive immigration, education, and labor laws and policies in Los Angeles and the rest of the nation.

Librarians should refer patrons to USCIS approved list of DOJ-accredited representatives and organizations.

Librarians can order or print and supply Know Your Rights Cards in multiple languages to community members affected.

Librarians should use TPS fact sheets to inform Congress Members, Representatives, and Local officials of the impact TPS holders have on the economy and our country at large.

If you are unsure about what services are available to patrons in the area, call 2-1-1, a free and confidential community information and referral service.

These resources are available to help our immigrant communities find answers. Librarians are doing amazing work in serving TPS holders at a time when there are many questions and insecurity about their futures. Keep up the great work!