IMLS seeking nominations for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is now accepting nominations for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor awarded to libraries and museums for service to their communities. Since 1994, IMLS has presented the award to institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to community service.

Many ASTC members have received the National Medal in past years (see below for list).

The National Medals program recognizes outstanding libraries and museums of all types and sizes that deeply impact their communities by:

  • fostering a lifelong passion for learning for all people, nourishing curiosity and imagination from early childhood through adulthood, for people of all abilities and needs;
  • providing access to information through advancing digital capacity, focusing on digital inclusion and access to digital and informational resources, including e-books and materials to help address workforce development and public health;
  • transforming the lives of community members by being trusted community spaces for convening, connection, and conversation; enlightenment and shared thoughts and opinions; and preserving natural and cultural heritage and community memory;
  • continuing to engage their communities during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic and enhanced focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, through providing information, programming, and services virtually, or taking innovative and imaginative steps toward continuing services and reopening their physical spaces.

The institute took a pause on the Medals last year to rethink the program. According to a blog post from IMLS Director Crosby Kemper, the program now has a particular focus on community and impact:

IMLS Director Crosby Kemper

Impact on people and communities in our current environment can be perceived not only on the traditional goals of lifelong learning and education, but also new ways of digital access and capacity, ways of engaging communities, forging new forms of associating and connecting, bringing all the forces and faces of the community together.

We can hope to define, or at least describe, the impact on poverty, on digital inclusion, on engagement with traditionally underrepresented communities, on individuals with disabilities, on types of inequities that can exist across the nation.

Recipients are selected by Director Kemper, with the advice of the National Museum and Library Services Board. Three museums and three libraries will be chosen from 15 libraries and 15 museums named as finalists.

Anyone may submit a nomination, including the employees, board, community members and elected officials. All nominated institutions must complete the Nomination Form before the deadline. Three letters of support from community members who have direct knowledge of the nominated organization’s community service and the particular programs identified in the nomination; IMLS recommends that the letters come from different segments of the broader community served by the organizations and from individuals who have either witnessed or experienced first-hand a particular program or service. Nominations may also include letters from Members of Congress.

All materials must be submitted by November 2, 2020.

ASTC members honored with National Medal for Museum and Library Service (full list):

  • Amazement Square, Lynchburg, Virginia (2015)
  • Bootheel Youth Museum, Malden, Missouri (2012)
  • Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts (2013)
  • Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2003)
  • Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2009)
  • Cincinnati Museum Center, Ohio (2009)
  • Discovery Cube (as Discovery Science Center), Santa Ana, California (2013)
  • EdVenture Children’s Museum, Columbia, South Carolina (2011)
  • Explora, Albuquerque, New Mexico (2010)
  • Imagination Station (as Center of Science and Industry (COSI)), Toledo, Ohio (2005)
  • Long Island Children’s Museum, Garden City, New York (2012)
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana (2015)
  • Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin (2011)
  • Mid-America Science Museum, Hot Springs, Arkansas (2016)
  • MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), Tampa, Florida (2009)
  • New York Hall of Science, Corona, New York (2015)
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina (2014)
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, Oregon (2007)
  • Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington (2012)
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (as Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium), Miami, Florida (2001)
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana (2014)
  • The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2008)
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