United for Libraries 2021 Virtual Conference

Advocacy through Storytelling

August 23, 2021

Sessions underscored that stories—of individuals, of libraries, of communities—are at the core of library advocacy. “It’s really all about storytelling,” observed Beth Nawalinski, executive director of United for Libraries, during the conference. Representation in collections At “Auditing Diversity in Library Collections,” Sarah Voels, community engagement librarian at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library (CRPL), described the … Continue reading Advocacy through Storytelling


Young people sitting in an audience

Recruit, Retain, and Engage

July 8, 2021

Presenters included Lina Bertinelli, workforce librarian at Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Maryland State Library Resource Center in Baltimore; Madeline Jarvis, adult and information services manager at Marion (Iowa) Public Library; Kathy Kosinski, member services and outreach manager at Califa Group, a consortium of California libraries; and Tess Wilson, community engagement coordinator for the … Continue reading Recruit, Retain, and Engage


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Revolutions Where We Stand

March 1, 2021

Those words seem especially prescient now as we look across the country at the libraries that have struggled most during this period of widespread library defunding and service reductions. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, there has long been an unmistakable correlation between communities that navigate high rates of poverty and those that … Continue reading Revolutions Where We Stand


Community and Cooperation

August 11, 2020

With COVID-19 and social justice in mind, keynotes and sessions introduced management tools and strategies, highlighted opportunities for organizations to pivot and imagine a different future, and explored what these changes might mean for the libraries and nonprofits that support them. Realizations and reckoning At the opening keynote session “Integrating Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity into … Continue reading Community and Cooperation


K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


National Friends of Libraries Week (October 20–26)

By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week

September 3, 2019

This year’s National Friends of Libraries Week is October 20–26. 14 Number of years that National Friends of Libraries Week has been celebrated. The week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and advocacy efforts of Friends groups and trustees, and to promote United for Libraries membership with such events as fundraisers, author signings, and … Continue reading By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week


The panel, from left: Fred Stielow, Susan J. Schmidt, Peter Pearson, Sally Gardner Reed

Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future

January 24, 2017

Schmidt kicked off her 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits session, “Building the Future: Public Libraries and Their Trustees Making Future Policy Decisions Together,” in Atlanta on Sunday by painting a picture of the challenges directors, trustees, and Friends groups are up against. Panelists then presented tactics for ways these groups can leverage their relationships, to … Continue reading Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future