December 1, 2021

Urban Libraries Council (ULC) President and CEO Susan Benton to Step Down

From the “This Week at ULC”  Newsletter:

Earlier this month, ULC Executive Board Chair Dr. Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi shared that ULC President and CEO Susan Benton will be stepping down from her position at the end of February. Across her twelve-year tenure, Susan has championed and positioned libraries as essential to the communities they serve. She has worked with passion and in close partnership with the ULC Executive Board, ULC libraries and ULC staff on a vision for public libraries as anti-racism leaders, including the launch of ULC’s Statement on Race and Social Equity in 2016.

ULC has become widely recognized as an innovation and action tank that provides new thinking, techniques and technologies for public libraries to use for achieving greater outcomes for the people and communities they serve. ULC membership now represents over 80% of all large libraries across the U.S. and Canada. ULC has grown its internal and external communications, led forward-thinking research and development for the field and experienced a significant increase in reserves during Susan’s tenure.

Accomplishments include:

  • Development of Edge, the first benchmarking system for public libraries that is used by leading public libraries in the U.S. and Canada. In early 2022, ULC will launch Edge 360 with new anti-racism/EDI and digital equity benchmarks and additional topics premiering later in the year related to economic opportunity and education.
  • Launching the White House Leaders Library Card Challenge, which brought local elected and top appointed officials, school superintendents and library executives together for the first time to get a library card to every student in their jurisdiction to support their educational success. More than 4 million students now have library cards through this initiative and new communities adopt this proven model every year.
  • Moving the ULC offices to Washington, D.C. in 2014 to develop strategic partnerships with allied organizations, including the Council of the Great City Schools, National Summer Learning Association, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, International City/County Management Association, the United States Conference of Mayors and others.

“Susan used her role to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st century. As chair of the ULC Executive Board, and as a university leader and educator, I know the world is a better place because of Susan’s sturdy and steady hand at the helm of ULC, at such a time as this. Susan Benton is a class act, and a woman I call friend,” said ULC Executive Board Chair Dr. Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi.

We extend a heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Susan Benton for her outstanding service to ULC in serving the greater good in our communities.

The ULC Executive Board will begin the search for a new President and CEO immediately.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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