9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the nation's highest honor for institutions that make significant contributions to their communities. Since 1994, IMLS has presented the award to institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach.
The winners were honored at a National Medal award ceremony at the U.S. Institute of Peace at 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, on May 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. View photos online.
The day's events included two morning panels featuring leaders from the ten winning institutions, as well as an afternoon awards ceremony.
Morning Panels 9 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Panel 1: Increasing Access: How Museums and Libraries Are Reaching Into Their Communities
Mike Yankovich, President and CEO of The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. The Children’s Museum of Denver excels at delivering programming for children and their grown-ups. With the help of community partners, the museum has developed and launched multiple access programs for families struggling financial, or with families with special educational needs.
Eric Lashley, Library Director of the Georgetown Public Library in Texas. The Georgetown Public Library and its staff offer unique programs and services for patrons at all stages of life. The library’s staff have responded to their community with programs like a bike loan program and a Fine Arts Librarian in order to reach as many people as possible.
Jon Erlandson, Executive Director of The University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Responding to a need for in rural Oregon, the museum developed and implemented a statewide outreach program that delivers STEM education to children in Oregon schools and libraries.
Jon Walker is the Director of the Pueblo City-County Library District in Colorado. Through his institution’s “community librarianship” philosophy, the Pueblo City-County Library district has become a foundation for the community where everyone is welcome, supported, and championed.
Dr. Victoria Ramirez, Executive Director of the El Paso Museum of Art. Located in the heart of the city’s cultural district and less than a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border, the El Paso Museum of Art employs both domestic and international outreach, helping build cultural cohesion for their unique community.
Panel 2: Catalysts for Change: The Evolving Role of American Libraries and Museums
Mary Ann Hodel, CEO and director of The Orange County Library System based in Orlando, Florida. Whether it’s responding to the PULSE night club shooting in 2016, or providing a host of STEM programs for school children, the Orange County Library System isn’t just a library—it’s a hub for community change.
Robert Bury, Executive Director and CEO of The Detroit Historical Society. Rather than shying away from the difficult chapter in history of the Detroit Riots in 1967, the society used the riots’ 50th anniversary to open and help define Detroit’s future for all of its citizens.
Bronwen Gamble, Executive Director of the Reading Public Library in Reading, Pennsylvania. Located in the heart of the city, the Reading Public Library is positioned to address the city’s needs. The library prides itself on continually assessing its community, which allows it to best respond to local needs and issues.
Matthew Carpenter, Executive Director of the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton. Recognized for its efforts in telling stories of underserved populations, particularly the homeless, African Americans, and those with mental illness, the museum provides the citizens of the Fox Cities with a way to connect to the past, assess their present, and plan for the future.
Audrey Betcher, Library Director at the Rochester Public Library in Minnesota. By championing underserved communities such as recent immigrants and LGBTQIA teens, the library is proud to serve as a safe haven for the Rochester community.
Afternoon Presentation of the National Medal 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service Winners
The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus is one of the Mile High City’s gems. In recent years, the museum has grown along with the population it serves, expanding its facilities, programming, and attendance. It offers rich play experiences and a dynamic learning environment designed for families with newborns to eight-year olds. With a focus on access, the museum has become a leader in providing accessible museum experiences for all.
- A MUSEUM FOR ALL
- GROWING SCIENTISTS
- CREATE, PLAY, LEARN
The Detroit Historical Society
The Detroit Historical Society (DHS) has a 100- year legacy of telling the city’s stories and why they matter. With the 50-year anniversary of the summer of 1967 nearing, DHS sought to commemorate the traumatic riots with a sensitive and inclusive narrative. Rather than just creating an exhibition, DHS shepherded a communitywide project. Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward captured the story and proved that the DHS could be a safe place for potentially difficult conversations.
- DETROIT’S STORIES TOLD BY DETROITERS
- LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND EXHIBITION
El Paso Museum of Art
Known as “The Pass,” El Paso acts as a gateway for people, trade, and culture along the U.S.-Mexico border. The city is one of the largest binational communities in the world. Located in the heart of the city’s cultural district and less than a mile from the border, the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) uses services, programs, and art exhibits to celebrate the diversity and cultural pride of the city. The museum builds community cohesion in both the United States and Mexico, demonstrating that cultural understanding and celebration are paramount for change and growth.
- TRANSBORDER BIENNIAL CELEBRATION
- DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS
- EDUCATING ARTMAKERS
Georgetown Public Library
Three Post-It notes are perpetually placed on the office door of Georgetown Public Library’s director as inspiration. In bright colors, the notes read, “Trust,” “Turning Outward,” and “Collateral Benefits.” For Eric Lashley and his staff, these three concepts are daily reminders of the way they wish to serve the 61,000 residents of Georgetown, Texas.
- BUILDING COMMUNITY TRUST
- LOOKING OUTWARD
- COLLATERAL BENEFITS
History Museum at the Castle
Tucked away in the communities along the Fox River of Northeast Wisconsin is a small museum affectionately known as the History Museum at the Castle. By placing historic lessons in a modern day context, the museum inspires residents to discover and appreciate the community’s rich history. The museum recently developed new traveling, pop-up, and static displays in and around Appleton. The three exhibits created new ways for citizens to engage with the past and plan for a positive future.
- A STONE OF HOPE: BLACK EXPERIENCES IN FOX CITIES
- IN(VISIBLE): HOMELESSNESS IN APPLETON
- ASYLUM: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
The Orange County Library System
Orange County Library System is situated in an area full of contrasts. Orange County is home to the theme parks of Orlando, where many visitors’ childhood dreams come true. While the service industry is booming and the county is one of the fastest growing in the state, many of the 1.28 million residents are facing homelessness, food insecurity, crime, struggling schools, and lack of job opportunities. The library system is investing in programs to address these issues.
- INVESTING IN ORANGE COUNTY’S YOUTH
- SERVING IMMIGRANT POPULATIONS
- STRENGTHENING TECHNOLOGICAL SKILLS
Pueblo City-County Library District
Pueblo, Colorado, is a city at a crossroads. This historically working-class town, long supported by a thriving steel mill, is now a diverse community of over 165,000. Pueblo CityCounty Library District (PCCLD) aims to provide the best possible public library services for its residents, and over the last five years, Pueblo citizens have increasingly made use of its robust resources.
- ALL PUEBLO READS
- CELEBRATING PUEBLO’S HISPANIC DEMOGRAPHIC
- RESPONSIVE SERVICES FOR UNIQUE NEEDS
Reading Public Library
In 2010, Reading, Pennsylvania, was among the poorest cities in the United States. Located in the heart of the city, the Reading Public Library (RPL) is well positioned to address its community’s many needs. It is a place of growth in five areas of literacy: civic and social, health, basic, financial, and informational. By continually assessing community needs, the library serves as an ally for Reading citizens.
- ADDRESSING THE BASIC NEED OF LITERACY
- DEVELOPING THE WORKFORCE
- REACHING PATRONS BEYOND THE LIBRARY’S WALLS
Rochester Public Library
Rochester, Minnesota, home to the worldrenowned Mayo Clinic, is a city with a can-do attitude. With a mission that mirrors that, the Rochester Public Library (RPL) strives to increase equity and access by supporting vulnerable populations. These communities are served by the library’s mantra: “We Care.” That caring culture is at the center of every decision the library makes.
- REMAINING INCLUSIVE
- WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT
- ACCESS FOR ALL
Museum of Natural Cultural History
As the state’s official repository for public-owned collections, the 85-yearold Museum of Natural Cultural History (MNCH) is an unparalleled resource for learning about Oregon’s human, natural, and cultural history. Located at the University of Oregon, the MNCH serves university students as well as the Eugene community. The museum also responds to statewide needs for wider access to STEM education. Since 2015, the MNCH has made extraordinary strides towards extending its services to students, families, and educators in Oregon’s underserved rural communities. This outreach, born out of deep collaboration with community partners, provides rich, science-based learning adventures for schools and libraries across the state to encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM.
- INCREASING STEM ACCESS
- BEGINNING IN EUGENE
- PARTNERING WITH LOCAL LIBRARIES
The National Medal for Museum and Library Service brochure (PDF 31MB) describes the work of the 2018 recipients of the nation’s top award for community service by museums and libraries.