ALA Annual Conference is back and so is ULU! There is so much going on right now with our little tugboat of an organization and we can’t wait to see you next week and share everything. From our covid test distribution, to our upcoming conference, elected official research and communications, and the (to be released next week!!!) Urban Library Trauma Study, we have been super busy. Don’t know where to find us? Here is where we will be!

Come see us at Booth #866!

We have a booth!!! We’ve never done this before at ALA and we are all looking forward to seeing you! Stop by the ULU booth in the small press area to learn more about the Urban Library Trauma Study, our conference in September, advocacy, and more. We will be in booth 866, in the far FAR FAR back right corner of the exhibit hall. Come see us so we aren’t lonely. If you would like to set up a time to meet with us, shoot us an email at

Trauma Study

After 2 years of work the Urban Library Trauma Study is being released on June 21, 2022. Fingers crossed we will have some print copies (fun with paper shortages), but you can always stop by the booth for the brochure and the link to the PDF eBook edition! 

Sessions with Urban Librarians Unite Staff and Volunteers

Speaking of the trauma study, we will be…. speaking about the trauma study throughout the conference. Check out the sessions below and we also hope you will join us for our memorial event for colleagues we’ve lost over the last few years .

Finally you should be sure to stop by ULU research fellows Alain Laforest’s workshop on Sunday and Leah Dudak and Marissa Caico’s session on Monday! They have done some amazing work. 

LSSIRT President’s Program: Self-care in Libraries through Frontline Support Staff Eyes
Sunday, June 26, 2022  8:30am – 10:00am | Washington Convention Center, 143B

Panel discussion describing library challenges and staff-led self-care initiatives in libraries. Panelists include Lauren Comito, co-lead of the IMLS-funded Urban Library Trauma Study, discussing library staff experiences shared via the study; Adeeba Rana and Lawrence Fiorelli, Brooklyn Public Library, describing their Rekindling from Burnout program; Neva Faulkner, DC Public Library, describing her encouragement for colleagues to adapt and implement a personal care and meditation regimen.

iBlackCaucus Workshop: Envisioning iBlackCaucus: An interactive, working session to strengthen MLIS student engagement
Sunday, June 26, 2022  1:00 – 2:00pm | Washington Convention Center, 144B-C

In its 51-year history, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association has rallied around racial and ethnic representation and inclusion in LIS. Through guided, collaborative activities, participants will reflect on their MLIS graduate school experiences and recommend methods for improving MLIS student engagement and empowerment. The IMLS-funded “Breaking Barriers” project is designed to create and launch iBlackCaucus, a completely virtual, MLIS-independent student organization for Black/African American library school students. This is the final event in a series of dialogues and idea workshops. BCALA invites ALA attendees to have a say in the iBlackCaucus student organization’s purpose, governance, and activities. The session is open to anyone. BCALA members and MLIS students of color are especially encouraged to take part in this brainstorming session. Learn more at

I Thought It Was Just Me: Urban Library Trauma Study Poster Session
Monday, June 27, 2022 3:30pm – 5:00pm | Washington Convention Center, 143A 

Recently there has been an increased cultural awareness around trauma, and that awareness is starting to seep into libraries and library workers. However, many library workers still wonder – is it just me?

The Urban Library Trauma Study (ULTS) was created by Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) in 2020 to address elements of trauma in the library workplace. The study aims to investigate how urban public library workers experience trauma and to create frameworks for institutions and individuals to protect the well-being of library staff. The most vital part of the study? The forum and the formulation of solutions are created by library staff, for library staff by utilizing the literature review, surveys, and interviews collected for study by ULU.

This poster will provide background on trauma in librarianship, focusing on the various ways trauma can be experienced while working with the public. However, the main portion of the poster will highlight various solutions that the participants came up with at the forum. Groups presented solutions that range from adding trauma care into library policies, trauma certifications for libraries, databases on resources for patrons, administrative shadowing, and creating peer-driven networks of support for library staff experiencing trauma.

Finally, the ALA conference and this poster will coincide with the release of the official findings from this IMLS funded study, which was done in partnership with the New York Library Association, and St John’s University. This poster allows for a condensed version of those findings, along with highlighting the larger study.

In Memoriam
Sunday, June 26, 2022 4:00pm – 5:00pm | Washington Convention Center, 143A 

We have lost many friends and colleagues over this last year. If you would like to honor a library worker who has passed away please reach out to Christian Zabriskie at to share pictures and set up a spot to speak.

This is an open session to any and all who have had the loss of a mentor, colleague, or friend. We all need a space to mourn, please join us to respect those who have gone before.

Reference Repertoire: You know more than you know
Monday, June 27, 2022 1:00pm – 2:00pm | Washington Convention Center, 143A 

Reference workers need vast and diverse knowledge of information resources, including subject expertise, searching skills, and information literacy. However, the current information landscape bombards reference workers with a wide range of information. Traditional reference education strives to teach a survey of reference resources, even while acknowledging that no agreement exists about what should be taught and how to maintain reference skills. Given the rapid proliferation of information resources, how can we ensure that reference workers keep pace with the rapidly changing information environment?

One approach is to draw on other fields that also build bodies of knowledge in an ever-changing environment. Reference work shares much in common the idea of design repertoire—a body of knowledge iteratively built from previous experiences, and the more past experiences, the more situations, the more informed an individual is in new situations. Using design repertoire in reference highlights that reference workers carry a repertoire built on previous experiences they can then draw upon for reference work.

In this session, we highlight that library staff know more than they realize, and already have a reference repertoire of experiences and knowledge that can be used, even if they are not aware of it. Come learn how your preexisting knowledge and experience–library related or not–can be used for reference work, and practical tips for how you can increase your reference repertoire to offer better reference services.