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5. Marshalltown Public Library

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristin Drouin
(202) 414-0781;


Marshalltown Public Library

Left to right: Veronica Guevara, Sarah Rosenblum, and Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

Marshalltown has experienced enormous change from the time its last "new" library opened 111 years ago, in 1902, to the present day facility’s opening in 2008. Marshalltown Public Library was home to one of America’s earliest Children’s Rooms, and today’s library remains committed to early literacy. Staff members collaborate across the community to serve Marshalltown’s growing immigrant population. The Dia de los Ninos/Dia de los Libros festival is an annual event that introduces Spanish-speaking families to library services, while encouraging children of all ethnicities to celebrate Hispanic culture. The library partners with organizations such as Latinas al Exito, a youth mentoring program for Latinas, to involve youth in library activities, especially its library volunteer program, VolunTeen.

"Each day Marshalltown Public Library profoundly demonstrates that a small but creative, committed and resourceful library can be a leader, developing replicable, innovative and creative programs that respond to its community," said Director Sarah Rosenblum. "I am so proud that the IMLS is awarding the Nation Medal to the Marshalltown Public Library which has a responsive tradition of creative and innovative library services that have helped the city and its residents to meet the challenges of the 20th century and positioned each for success in the 21st."

Community Member: Marshalltown Public Library was an important resource for first-generation Mexican-American Veronica Guevara. A first grader who found reading challenging because English was not her first language became a true bookworm, largely thanks to the library and the multitude of resources and materials offered in several languages. "The library helped me grow and develop while honing my bilingualism at a young age." As Veronica got older, she worked with museum staff members to identify internship opportunities and apply for scholarships to further her education. She’ll graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in Political Science in December 2013. "The library helped me discover the beauty of endless possibilities at a young age, which have in turn led me to believe in the possibilities of my goals and dreams," said Veronica.

Praise for Marshalltown Public Library:

The significant contributions made by the Marshalltown Public Library and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library to empower their communities are truly remarkable. I congratulate these libraries for receiving this prestigious award and for their extraordinary commitment to public service.
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa)

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is a treasure and this award is well deserved. The museum and library make a wonderful contribution to the study of history and culture, and the museum and library’s presence in the Cedar Rapids community is elevated, both literally and figuratively, after overcoming the 2008 flood in Iowa. I join in expressing appreciation for the commitment of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library to scholarship and preservation of America’s rich heritage. Likewise, for 115 years, the Marshalltown Public Library has been a hub in a vibrant community. This national award recognizes the success of the library today in providing innovative opportunities for children, students, and adults of all ages, and helping to enhance the quality of life in Marshalltown.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa)

Museums and libraries are not only community resources for knowledge and learning, but they inspire us to explore our world and its rich history. The Marshalltown Public Library and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library have excelled in this capacity, and I join my fellow Iowans in congratulating both institutions for their outstanding service and this deserved award.
U.S. Representative Tom Latham (Iowa)

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