You are here

About the National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

About the National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the nation’s highest honor bestowed on institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The National Medal awards are made every year by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent government agency that is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

Recipient institutions receive the National Medal at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 award in recognition of their extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. This is the second year that IMLS has awarded medals to 10 institutions; in previous years, the National Medal was known as the National Award for Museum and Library Service and was awarded to three museums and three libraries. Including the 2009 winners, 82 institutions have received the award. All types of museums, from anthropological to zoological, fine art to folk art, urban and rural, large and small are nominated for this award. Public or private nonprofit libraries are eligible to receive this award and nominations of libraries of all sizes are encouraged.

Selection Process

Any individual may nominate a museum and/or library in the United States and its territories for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Members of the National Museum and Library Services Board, the Institute’s presidentially-appointed policy advisory board, review the nominations and make recommendations to the Institute Director who selects the winners. To view nomination information, please go to The deadline for 2010 nominations was February 16, 2010.


Back to press release

National Medal for Museum and Library Service