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8. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

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


Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Left to right: Amina Tuki, Kimber L. Fender, and Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County serves 49 separate jurisdictions that are economically, educationally, and ethnically diverse. The Library is one of the largest, oldest, and most-heavily used in America. More than 17.6 million items were borrowed in 2011, making it the eighth busiest library in the nation. The library is committed to academic achievement, and works with community partners on several programs including Read On! and Success by 6 to improve grade level reading and kindergarten readiness. Its summer educational programs including summer reading and Brain Camps help reduce learning loss. Equally committed to encouraging lifelong learning, the library established an Adult Learning Center to support literacy, math skills, online job applications, and GED preparation.

"We are honored and delighted to have been selected as a 2013 National Medal recipient. From helping children learn to read to helping jobseekers with their search, our many programs and services are designed to meet the specific needs of the diverse community we serve," said The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director Kimber L. Fender. "This recognition would not have been possible without the strong support of our community and our many community partners. We look forward to continuing these invaluable services for years to come."

Community Member: From a small village in Ethiopia without running water or electricity, Amina Tuki came to Cincinnati as a refugee with her husband in the early 1990s. Unable to read her native language of Amharic, learning English was a monumental challenge. Amina’s first steps into the library were to meet a tutor from the YWCA to work on her English and since that time, she’s taken infinite steps to further her language and communication skills. Unable to help her daughter Hannah with her homework, Amina marched into the library and used Homework Central. And when the Adult Learning Center opened in 2011, Amina, herself, participated in classes to work on her English skills. She reflects, "One day, I picked up a small book given by the library called ‘Coming to America.’ It took me all day, but I made my way through the pages highlighting the challenges – and joys – of coming to a new country. I took it home and told my husband and two daughters I would read them a story. And I did. My oldest daughter cried when I finished."

Praise for Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County:

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has always played an instrumental role in the lives of Cincinnatians young and old and is truly one of our community’s greatest assets. Congratulations to all the individuals who have worked so hard to make our library system one of the best in the country.
U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (Ohio)

Congratulations to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for receiving the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award honors only the most outstanding institutions in the United States. Going back to the days of Ben Franklin in Philadelphia, public libraries have been crucial to elevating the education and civic literacy of our citizens. Likewise, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and its sixteen branches in Ohio’s Second Congressional District, have played a similar role in our community. Congratulations to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on this much deserved recognition.
U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (Ohio)

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