The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the Georgetown Public Library as one of 10 recipients of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The award will be presented at an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., in May.
Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross shared the National Medal award announcement at a public reception at the Georgetown Public Library on May 1. The reception was held in the lobby of the Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St.
At the Georgetown Public Library, patrons encounter three words as they enter the building: Engage, Enlighten, Empower. This is the mission statement that drives the library to serve as a catalyst for community wellbeing and enrichment. Library staff reimagine and reinvent the library through patron-centric library services, innovative partnerships with organizations and agencies, and creative, engaging programming.
“Winning the 2018 IMLS National Medal is truly an honor for our library and community,” Georgetown Public Library Director Eric Lashley said. “It is rewarding for our staff, volunteers, and community partners to be recognized at the national level for our efforts to engage, enlighten, and empower our community.”
Selected from 29 national finalists, the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners represent institutions that provide dynamic programming and services that exceed expected levels of service. Through their community outreach, these institutions bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive. The San Antonio Public Library is the only other public library in Texas to have won the IMLS National Medal in the past.
“It is a pleasure to recognize the 10 distinctive recipients of the National Medal of Museum and Library Service,” IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said. “Through their programs, services, and partnerships, these institutions exemplify the many ways that libraries and museums are positively transforming communities across the nation.”
As part of the ceremony and celebration, Georgetown community member Rosie Rocke will travel to Washington, D.C., with Lashley to accept the National Medal on behalf of Georgetown Public Library and provide a personal account of the power the library has had in the community. After Rocke’s husband died in 2013, the library became her safe haven. The super-volunteer notes that “the library was my grief counselor. It made my transition to a widow easier.”
Following the ceremony, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit the Georgetown Public Library and provide an opportunity for Georgetown community members to share stories of how the library has affected their lives. These stories are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
To see the list of 2018 National Medal recipients and learn more about the National Medal, visit www.imls.gov.