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Michelle Obama honors Brooklyn Public Library with National Medal

June 2, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
First Lady Michelle Obama (center) presents the National Medal for Museum and Library Service to the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)  in the East Room of the White House on June 1. Accepting the award are Brooklyn Public Library community member Kim Best (left) and BPL President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. Photo by Earl Zubkoff
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First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew at the White House on Wednesday to honor the recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award is the highest honor recognizing museums and libraries for service to the community. Ten institutions were recognized, including Brooklyn Public Library.

The first lady presented the National Medal to directors and community members from each institution who shared how the museum or library has made a significant difference in their lives. She noted, “Day after day, year after year, our nation’s libraries and museums are here for our communities. And at the end of the day, you all don’t measure your impact by the number of books on your shelves or pieces in your exhibits, but by the young people you inspire, the lives you transform and the impact you have every single day on your communities.”

The 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients are:

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  • Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

  • The Chicago History Museum (Chicago, Illinois)

  • Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, South Carolina)

  • Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children (Gulfport, Mississippi)

  • Madison Public Library (Madison, Wisconsin)

  • Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas)

  • North Carolina State University Libraries (Raleigh, North Carolina)

  • Otis Library (Norwich, Connecticut)

  • Santa Ana Public Library (Santa Ana, California)

  • Tomaquag Museum (Exeter, Rhode Island)


“The 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients have shown an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the people they serve,” said Matthew. “Our nation’s museums and libraries are true community anchors, promoting learning among many ages and backgrounds through breathtaking collections, engaging programmatic experiences and supportive services. The inspiring community member stories show the success of these initiatives and serve as examples of the many people whose lives have been changed by institutions.” 

Selected from 30 finalists, the 10 honorees show the significant impact our nation’s libraries and museums can have on the community through excellent programs, services, outreach and partnerships that go beyond what is expected.

Later this year, StoryCorps — a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving and sharing the stories of Americans — will visit the recipient institutions to document stories from the community.

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