July 22, 2015


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard, gbullard@imls.gov

National MedalWashington, DC—Each year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services presents select museums and libraries with the nation’s highest honor, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2016 award which recognizes libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions in service to their communities. Nomination forms are due October 1, 2015.

All types of nonprofit libraries and library organizations, including academic, school, and special libraries, archives, library associations, and library consortia, are eligible to receive this honor. Public or private nonprofit museums of any discipline (including general, art, history, science and technology, children’s, and natural history and anthropology), as well as historic houses and sites, arboretums, nature centers, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and planetariums are eligible.

Winners are honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, host a two-day visit from StoryCorps to record community member stories, and receive positive media attention. Approximately thirty finalists are selected as part of the process and are featured by IMLS during a six-week social media and press campaign.

Winning the medal elevates an institution’s profile and can positively impact fundraising, programming, and outreach activities, as noted by these past recipients:

Winning the National Medal was a once in a lifetime experience for us. In talking to the other nine institutions that received the award, I realized that, while some of us have budgets of more than $1,000,000 and some of us budgets of $100,000, we are all doing the same great work. We are honored to receive the recognition and are ready to use the recognition to help us take our services to the next level.

Felicity Fonseca, Executive Director
2015 Recipient Embudo Valley Library and Community Center

As an institution, we are always trying to reach out to the community; [StoryCorps] was a great way to do that while also highlighting the impact of the museum in the lives of individuals. It was a terrific way to show how not just the museum, but experiences of art, influence people. There is definitely a new focus on connecting art and community, and this was a perfect complement to that effort.

Charles Venable, the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO
2009 Recipient Indianapolis Museum of Art

Anyone may nominate a museum or library for this honor, and institutions may self-nominate. For more information, reach out to one of the following contacts.

Program Contact for Museums: 
Mark Feitl, Museum Program Specialist
202-653-4635, mfeitl@imls.gov

Program Contact for Libraries:
Katie Murray, Staff Assistant
202-653-4644, kmurray@imls.gov

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’s123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Medal for Museum and Library Service