The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the Cedar Rapids Public Library as one of 10 recipients of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 23 years, the award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways, making a difference for individuals, families, and their communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., this summer.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library was selected due to the impact of its programs and services within the city of Cedar Rapids. These programs are designed meet the strategic goals of the Library to invest in young minds, build and strengthen community, and transform lives.
“We are proud to honor these 10 institutions with this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “These institutions play a critical role as community catalysts and provide vital resources that drive economic development, foster community well-being and spark neighborhood revitalization. We are proud of all 10 museums and libraries and celebrate their ongoing commitment to their communities.”
“Libraries serve and elevate communities,” said Dara Schmidt, Director of the Cedar Rapids Public Library. “Winning the National Medal for Museum and Library Service shines a spotlight on the work we do and allows our community and our nation to celebrate with us the power of the public library. We are so thankful for our city leaders and community partners who allow us to enhance and amplify their great work.”
The recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service have employed powerful programs and services that exceed the expected levels of community outreach, in some cases changing the lives of those who enter their doors. The 10 winners were selected from 30 national finalists announced in March.
“The Cedar Rapids Public Library has taken every opportunity to respond to our community’s changing needs as best we can with the resources available,” said Schmidt. “That others outside our city see and recognize our work is humbling and gratifying. The Cedar Rapids Public Library is a community driven library, so this is a huge community win.”
A community member will join Schmidt in Washington, D.C., for the summer event to provide a personal account of the power the Cedar Rapids Public Library has had in the community.
After the ceremony, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit the Cedar Rapids Public Library to document stories from the community.
For a complete list of 2017 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit www.imls.gov/2017-medals. For more information on the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and approximately 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, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Cedar Rapids Public Library
The Cedar Rapids Public Library is a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. We exist to impact our community and transform its quality of life through education, civic engagement, the arts, and entertainment.