The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community.
Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of libraries and museums that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Booth Library is one of 30 national finalists for the award, and one of only 15 libraries chosen from throughout the United States.
Booth Library was nominated based on its extensive program series and other events for the community. Series have included exhibits and programs based on different topics each semester, including “America’s Music,” “Farm Life,” “Elizabeth I,” “Frankenstein,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “Teachers Tame the Prairie,” “Harry Potter’s World,” “Building Memories: Creating a Campus Community” and the current program series, “Muslim Journeys.” These series have offered a variety of films, discussions, lectures, musical and theater performances, lectures, exhibits and other activities for free to the community.
In addition, Booth Library sponsors many other programs for the campus and community at large. For example, through the Booth After Hours program, specific campus groups are invited to the library after hours for programs designed specifically for them. Area high school classes regularly visit Booth Library for free instruction and research help from Booth reference librarians. For several years, the library has welcomed librarians from around the world as part of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. In addition, the library recently hosted a reception for area librarians to network and reconnect.
“Our library is dedicated to quality public service,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “We excel at providing materials and information to Eastern’s students and faculty. However, a major goal is to create an environment in which citizens in our region can explore topics of interest and take time to discuss issues with others as they remain active learners.”
Finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.
“Museums and libraries serve as civic gathering places, bringing together individuals in pursuit of educational resources, community connections, skills development, and multifaceted lifelong learning,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are very proud to announce Booth Library as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal. This year’s National Medal finalists illustrate the many ways museums and libraries can excite lifelong learning and civic engagement.”
IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Booth Library to “share their story” on the IMLS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USIMLS. Each of the 30 finalists will be highlighted on a specific date on the IMLS Facebook page, and Booth Library will be honored on March 18. Beginning that day, community members are encouraged to visit the site to post comments, photos or videos demonstrating how Booth Library has made an impact on them.
“We hear a lot of positive comments from our patrons about ways they’ve been enriched by Booth Library,” Lanham said. “We hope many of them will ‘share their story’ on March 18.”
The National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced in April, and the medals will be awarded during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the 2014 National Medal finalists, visit www.imls.gov/medals. To learn more about Booth Library, visit www.library.eiu.edu or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.
About 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 mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS’ 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 http://www.imls.gov or follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Including 2013 winners, 132 institutions have received this honor, and 10 additional institutions will be awarded in 2014.