Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Formerly known as Urban Academic Librarian, Urban Library Journal (ULJ) “addresses all aspects of urban libraries and librarianship,” although the editors also invite manuscript submissions addressing such areas as “public higher education, urban studies, multiculturalism, library and educational services to immigrants, preservation of public higher education, and universal access to World Wide Web resources.” They also invite recommendations for columns and special issues. Urban Academic Librarian is published online on a rolling basis, and is collected into issues two time a year.
Since, in its two iterations, ULJ is in its 23rd volume, I decided to do a search of the journal to begin an examination of its content. I searched for: safety, and got five results: “Safety and Security in Urban Academic Libraries: A Risk Assessment Approach to Emergency Preparedness,” “24/7 Library Hours at an Urban Commuter College,” “Digital Inclusion, Learning, and Access at the Public Library,” “Rebuilding Post War Europe: New York and Digital Archives as Reconstitutive Fabric,” and “Libraries As Pivotal Community Spaces in Times of Crisis.” The first article, “Safety and Security in Urban Academic Libraries: A Risk Assessment Approach to Emergency Preparedness,” by the Assistant University Librarian for Public Services at Portland State University, who has been a firefighter and an emergency medical technician, “examines the level of risk of property and violent crime using Clery Act data and Uniform Crime Report data, distinguishing between urban and less -urban academic environments and comparing crime rates in academic environments with the general crime rates.” The abstract for the last article listed notes, “In communities in the United States, police shootings and public protests in urban cities have resulted in crises that have been particularly hard-felt, but, more significantly, they live vividly in our memories. Libraries in these communities often serve as safe havens in times of crisis. This paper presents two examples of how libraries in urban communities modified their services and programs to accommodate their constituents to address their information needs during times of crisis.” This article discusses libraries as safe places, and describes two cases of how libraries and library professionals took action in times of crises: the Ferguson (Missouri) Municipal Public Library and the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. IMHO, both these articles should be read by librarians across the country, both for their research value and the context they provide about libraries and the parts they play in their communities.
There’s plenty of other material to be found here that will be useful to many librarians: “Beyond ADA Compliance: The Library as a Place for All,” “Inequalities in Publishing,” “Differentiated Instruction in Information Literacy Courses in Urban Universities: How Flipping the Classroom Can Transform a Course and Help Reach All Students,” “Librarians as Feisty Advocates for Privacy,” and “Some Personal Reflections on Multiculturalism” is just a smattering of examples. The more recent issues seem to be shifting to cover broader themes, beyond those of immediate interest to just CUNY librarians, so if you haven’t yet delved into this journal do yourself a favor and take a look.