The instructions and nomination form for the current fiscal year are now available:
Download FY 2016 Nomination Form (Fill-in PDF, 220KB)
Visit the National Medals page in our National Initiatives section to learn more about the annual celebration of the National Medal recipients.
The National Medal honors outstanding libraries and museums that have made significant and exceptional contributions in service to their communities. Selected institutions demonstrate extraordinary approaches to serving their constituents; they exceed expected levels of community outreach. These organizations have established themselves as community anchor institutions. Recipient institutions are honored at an awards ceremony that is held in Washington, DC.
Nominations should describe the:
population served and community needs;
institution's programs, services, and partnerships;
impact and evaluation of programs; and
How are the recipients of the National Medal selected?
The Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with the advice of the Museum and Library Services Board, selects the recipients of the National Medals. In addition to the Medal, IMLS may grant a monetary award.
When are the recipients of the National Medal announced?
The recipients of the National Medals are usually announced in the spring on the IMLS website and through a press release.
Who is eligible for a National Medal nomination?
In general: Aquariums, Arboretums/Botanical Gardens, Art Museums, Children's/Youth Museums, General Museums, Historic Houses/Sites, History Museums, Natural History/Anthropology Museums, Nature Centers, Planetariums, Science/Technology Centers, Specialized Museums, and Zoos may be nominated for the National Medal for Museum Service if they: are either a unit of State or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;
are located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
qualify as a museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.
A public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum may apply on behalf of the museum.
In general: Academic Libraries, Digital Libraries, Library Associations, Library Consortia, Public Libraries, Research Libraries/Archives that make information available to the public and that are not an integral part of an institution of higher learning, Public School Libraries, and Private or Special Libraries that are considered libraries as determined by the State in which they are located, may be nominated for the National Medal for Library Service. They should also be: either a unit of State or local government or be a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code; and
located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
Previous library or museum medal recipients may reapply after ten years.
Who may nominate a library or museum for the National Medal?
Anyone, including the institution's employees, board members, members of its community, and elected officials, may nominate a museum or library for this honor.
What steps should nominators take?
If an institution self-nominates, it simply needs to submit the nomination materials to IMLS by the deadline.
If someone outside of the institution wants to make a nomination, they should notify the museum or library directly and ask them to complete and submit the nomination form in advance of the deadline.
What information is necessary in order for an institution to be considered for the National Medal and who is responsible for providing it?
Your institution, not the individual who nominates it, must complete the Nomination Form and include the following four parts:
Executive Summary & Mission Statement
Narrative (four questions)
Letters of Support
Do not include additional cover letters, binders, folders, or attachments. For detailed information on answering parts B-D, refer to the Nomination Form.
What is the deadline for submitting the Nomination Form?
The Nomination Form and letters of support should be sent by October 1, 2015, to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, nominations may be mailed and postmarked by October 1, 2015, to this address:
The National Medal for Museum and Library Service
Office of the Director
Institute of Museum and Library Services
1800 M St. NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20036-5802
Program Contact for Museums:
Mark Feitl, Museum Program Specialist
Program Contact for Libraries:
Katie Murray, Staff Assistant