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The Essential Collaboration

The Essential Collaboration

Susan Benton, President and CEO of Urban Libraries Council

Wednesday 17 September 2014 – Plenary session, 9:30am to 10:25pm


Susan Benton is President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), a membership organization of leading public libraries in North America.With a network of the top library executives in the United States and Canada, ULC articulates the strategic role public libraries serve for strengthening their community in economic and workforce development, learning and education, citizen engagement, health and public safety. As thought leaders and change agents, ULC libraries regularly receive accolades at the international, national and local levels.While ULC libraries primarily represent urban and suburban settings, lessons from their work are widely adapted by libraries of all sizes, including those in rural settings.

Ms. Benton has worked with cities, counties and libraries for over twenty years.Her professional career is dedicated to assisting public sector executives align resources to meet the opportunities and needs of the knowledge era and bring their organizations into the 21st century. She comes to ULC from her position as Research, Development and Strategic Partners Executive at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the professional association of over 9,000 city and county managers around the world.

Ms. Benton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters in Business Administration.


As the United States continues its transition from an industrial to a knowledge economy, organizations are working together in ways that would be unimaginable even ten years ago.  The old adage – two heads are better than one – is more relevant than ever.  This is particularly true at the community level where people and organizations must come together to address tough local issues that are not easily solved. 

As the most trusted U.S. governmental entity, the public library has a critically important role in leading and participating in collaborations that address everything from education to health to economic development.  Keynote speaker Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council, joins the ALIA National Conference to talk about public libraries and collaboration in the United States.