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IMLS Names Chicago Public Library a National Medal Finalist

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The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (I.M.L.S.) announced on Monday, March 3, 2014 that the Chicago Public Library (C.P.L.) is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The federation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, the National Medal will be celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. “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 I.M.L.S. “We are very proud to announce Chicago Public Library as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal.”

The C.P.L. continues to expand its services for patrons of all ages, from the Maker Lab, which allows the public free hands-on experience with 3D design software, 3D printers and other 21st century tools, to the expansion of the YOUmedia digital learning opportunities for teens, to the record 71,000 children who participated in the 2013 Summer Learning Challenge. “Libraries serve as economic and social anchors in our communities, which is why it is so important to invest in these neighborhood hubs,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This national recognition of the work Chicago Public Library and its dedicated staff are doing to keep the Library current and relevant in the lives of our residents is welcome news.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Recently, the C.P.L. was ranked the No. 1 library system in the United States and No. 3 in the world, recognized for taking a leading role in leveraging technology to enhance Library services.

“We are thrilled to be one of thirty finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” says Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “And we’re honored that our commitment to connecting Chicagoans through their neighborhood library and providing access to cutting edge technologies is being recognized on a national level.”

National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced this spring. The I.M.L.S. and C.P.L. are encouraging community members who have visited the C.P.L. to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page.

The I.L.M.S. is the primary source of federal support for the federation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. According to the I.M.L.S., “Their 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.”

According to the C.P.L., “The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.”

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