News & Events - Press Releases

Back to Press Release

7. Pierce County Library System

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


Pierce County Library System

Left to right: Jo Cruz, Neel Parikh, and Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

Pierce County Library System supports an incredibly diverse community: a growing population of children, a constant influx of new residents from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, job seekers and small business owners, active older adults, and more. Through innovative programs and partnerships, rooted in and developed as a result of research, the library system has been successful in leveraging community resources and delivering high-value services. Research informed a decision to implement one of the state’s first non-Dewey Decimal libraries to increase usability. It was an immediate success – in the first four hours, 780 visitors checked out 1,566 items. The Library System’s Early Literacy Program is a flagship program. The Early Literacy staff work in many partnerships developing successful curriculum and services with organizations including the Health Department and Child Care Aware of Tacoma/Pierce County. Pierce County Library System along with community partners provide caregivers with tools and training and help children prepare for school.

"I am honored and humbled. Pierce County Library is a National Medal winner thanks to our great staff and strong community partners," said Neel Parikh, executive director for Pierce County Library System. "Our communities, staff, and partners – together, we are the award winner. With our partners, we are a valued community asset that is making a difference one person at a time."

Community Member: Spanaway resident Jo Cruz took her young children on frequent trips to the library. Picture book browsing and story time have evolved to sophisticated research, as her son prepares to graduate high school this spring. Jo’s parenting experience showed that a foundation in literacy greatly impacts children in preparation for their future. Now, as a child care professional, Jo is committed to supporting this idea and plans early literacy activities for the children in her care. The library is a major resource for Jo – providing idea kits, materials, and even hosting block parties and group meetings for child care professionals. "Families, child care professionals, and our Pierce County Library System are team players in this community. It is reassuring to know that the success of our children is supported by passionate people concerned about the future of our little ones."

Praise for Pierce County Library System:

I am so proud of the Pierce County Library System and congratulate them on this well-deserved honor. Libraries play a critical role in our communities by providing children and adults opportunities to enrich their lives. The Pierce County Library System goes above and beyond by engaging with the community and providing access not just to educational materials, but to a variety of reading programs, career training resources, and more.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (Wash.)

I want to congratulate the Pierce County Library System for winning the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Pierce County Library System is one of just 10 national winners of this award this year, which is a testament to its leadership in promoting early literacy and learning in Washington state. These libraries are also hubs for the community with resources for job seekers and small business owners, and unique programs for military families and children with special needs. Thank you to the library system’s leadership and staff for the hard work in earning this significant award.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.)

Congratulations to the Pierce County Library System for earning this tremendous honor. Pierce County’s 18 libraries connect people, enhance learning, and offer all children and adults tremendous opportunities in the community. They continue to provide critical resources that meet the needs of an increasingly diverse community speaking many different languages, a growing youth population, tens of thousands of military members and their families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and more. Pierce County libraries are constantly researching and forming effective partnerships with other organizations in the community to offer great services to the population. They are very deserving of this prestigious award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
U.S. Representative Adam Smith (Wash.)

Next: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County