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Alison Gowans
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The Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, along with renowned journalist and reporter, Cokie Roberts, presented the Cedar Rapids Public Library with the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service during a ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. For 23 years, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service has been conferred upon museums and libraries in recognition of their outstanding and significant contribution to their communities.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library’s director, Dara Schmidt, along with community member Hassan Selim, who shared how the museum or library has influenced his life, accepted the award during the ceremony.

“Like no other community organizations, museums and libraries are able to serve the essential roles of anchors, facilitators, and innovators in shaping the future of their communities,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  “These 10 institutions are the epitome of community catalysts. They continuously make their neighborhoods better places to live and work. Through their partnerships and programs, their services and support, these institutions are enriching lives and contributing to community wellbeing.”

The 2017 National Medal winners are:

  • Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (Alaska State Museums) (Juneau, Alaska)
  • Aspen Art Museum (Aspen, Colorado)
  • Cedar Rapids Public Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (Skokie, Illinois)
  • Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)
  • Long Beach Public Library (Long Beach, California)
  • Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (Oakland, California)
  • Richland Library (Columbia, South Carolina)
  • University of Minnesota Libraries (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Waterville Public Library (Waterville, Maine)


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