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Symposium Spotlights the Power of Museums and Libraries to Change Lives

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Symposium Spotlights the Power of Museums and Libraries to Change Lives

IMLS Awards National Medal for Museum and Library Service to Ten Institutions in CA, FL, IL, IN, OH, OR, PA, and TN

What: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) annually awards the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.

Community members and directors of the 2009 National Medal winning institutions share compelling personal stories about the impact of these institutions.

When: Monday, February 22, 2010, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Where: Hotel Palomar, Phillips Room, 2121 P Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Who: Pritzker Military Library, Chicago, IL
Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams, 86, distinguished himself on February 23, 1945, in service with the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division on the island of Iwo Jima. Fighting desperately under intense machine-gun fire, Williams moved forward to silence enemy positions. For his actions that day, President Harry Truman awarded Williams the Medal of Honor, which he donated last year to the Pritzker Military Library. Williams will talk with Col. (IL) James N. Pritzker IL ARNG (Ret.), the Library’s Founder and President.

Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), Tampa, FL
When she was eight, Vivian McIlrath’s father died suddenly, leaving her mother the family’s sole provider. At 14, McIlrath joined MOSI’s YES! Team and her program scholarship stipend helped support her family. Once soft-spoken, McIlrath blossomed through MOSI programs. In 2002, the University of South Florida recognized her as an emerging student leader. She was also the first recipient of the National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Award scholarship. Today, McIlrath heads the YES! Team program, sharing with students the same opportunities she enjoyed.

Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN
As the Tennessee Aquarium’s Education Outreach Coordinator, Bill "Mr. Bill" Haley is out in the community nearly every day spreading the word about conserving Tennessee’s natural environment. Haley brings the fascinating world of nature directly to his students by offering interactive educational outreach on such topics as adaptations, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic ecosystems. His programs deliver age and grade-appropriate conservation messages, provide hands-on experiences, and excite students about their environment and world.

Community members, directors, and board members will be available for interviews February 22, 2010, 3-4 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. Biographies of all of the directors, community members, and board members can be found at:

Photo Opportunity: Anne-Imelda M. Radice, IMLS Director, will present the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to representatives of 10 winning institutions.

When: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Old Post Office Pavilion, Room M-09, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

Media Availability: Members of the press interested in attending the National Medals Symposium and Awards, please contact IMLS Public Affairs Officer Jeannine Mjoseth (; 202-653-4632, 202/903-6621 (cell).

To access high resolution photos of each winner with the IMLS Director, please visit on February 23, 2010, after 5 p.m., EST.

Organizations being honored are:

  1. Braille Institute Library Services, Los Angeles, CA
  2. Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati, OH
  4. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
  5. Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
  6. Museum of Science & Industry, Tampa, FL
  7. Pritzker Military Library, Chicago, IL
  8. Stark County District Library, Canton, OH
  9. Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN

Important Links:

2009 National Medal Brochure:
2009 National Medal Video:
2009 National Medal Invitation:
IMLS Director Anne Radice's Biography:
Fact Sheet on the National Medal:

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

National Medal for Museum and Library Service