2009 National Medal for Museum and Library ServiceWashington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) has selected five museums and five libraries to receive the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. 


"In the 21st century, these award winning libraries and museums are the heart and soul of their communities. Their outstanding contributions have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a real difference in their communities. They reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds and invite them to explore our wonderfully diverse history, culture, and literature. I thank them for their good work and encourage others to follow their shining example,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice.

As the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s museums and libraries, the Institute has a unique perspective on the vital role these institutions play in American society. The National Medal for Museum and Library Service was created to underscore that role. The winners are as diverse as the nation’s cultural landscape: small and large, urban and rural. They have one thing in common: they have developed innovative ways to serve their communities.

SPACE: Dare to Dream project featured a recreation of Galileo’s studio

The library’s SPACE: Dare to Dream project featured a recreation of Galileo’s studio, complete with a working model of his telescope.

The Gail Borden Public Library is the heart and hub of exciting activities in Elgin, Illinois. Its motto, “Learning is a Journey...Start It Here,” has been the inspiration behind many activities, including the Dr. Torres Library Card Challenge, a month-long program that resulted in 8,000 new library cards for local kids; the A Tapestry of Freedom project, which encouraged residents – especially foreign-born patrons – to share their stories of struggle and triumph with fellow Elgin citizens; and the GIANTS: African Dinosaurs and SPACE: Dare to Dream programs that brought to the library prehistoric visitors and objects from far flung galaxies. With all of the fantastic programs and events at the Gail Borden Public Library, community members ask just one question: “What next!”


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 www.imls.gov.