First Lady Michelle Obama recognized 10 different institutions throughout the United States on May 8 with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service for their exemplary performance throughout 2013. The First Lady stated that these institutions went above and beyond the call of duty throughout the past year, providing members of the public with a place where they could go to learn and experience new things.
Mrs. Obama noted that a library in today’s world must do more than just provide free rental books and a quiet place to study for people who live in the area. Today’s libraries are expected to not only have plenty of books available for residents of all ages, but there also must be programs put in place to help the community, Internet access available and educational opportunities provided to the people who frequent the library. To make the challenge of running a library even greater, most of these institutions have to provide more opportunities with less resources available to them.
The following institutions were given the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service:
- Waukegan, Illinois Public Library
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio
- Rancho Cucamonga Public Library in California
- Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Washington
- Marshalltown Public Library in Iowa
- National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Boston Children’s Museum
- Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California
- Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio
- Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi
The medal awards ceremony took place in the East Room of the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama presented the awards to the representatives from the recipient institutions along with the Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Susan Hildreth. This particular medal is the highest honor that can be conferred on a museum or library in the United States, and the recipients who receive this award each year boast it as a badge of honor. It shows to everyone in the community that the institutions works hard to provide quality programs and opportunities in order to improve the area at large.
In 2013, winners were chosen in order to show the diversity of the different types of institutions that are operating throughout the United States. Seven states were represented at the 2013 awards ceremony, showcasing that great things are happening across the entire country. This year’s ceremony also highlighted the way that these libraries and museums impacted the lives of people who live and work in their respective communities.
Every year, the winners of this prestigious medal are selected from a pool of nominees. The winners are chosen based on the fact that they have gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to community outreach programs. Each individual institution that won in 2013 will be visited by a StoryCorps representative this year in order to document stories that take place in their community. It is a way to preserve their impact on the community for many generations to come.