MLIS alumnus leads Chicago Public Library to 2014 National Medal

The Chicago Public Library was one of ten recipients of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Services given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. In its 20th anniversary year, the medals program celebrates excellent institutions that have made a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities across the nation.

Brian Bannon, commissioner of the Chicago Public Libraries and iSchool MLIS ’99, says, “The Chicago Public Library has a long history of innovation and is dedicated to serving as Chicago’s hub for free access to information, inspiration and the ideas of the day. We want to thank IMLS for this national recognition of the work we are doing in Chicago.”

The award recognizes that the Chicago Public Library continues to expand its services for patrons of all ages in innovative ways. Its new Maker Lab allows the public free, hands-on experience with 3D design software, 3D printers, and other 21st century tools. The library also expanded its YOUmedia digital learning opportunities for teens, and revamped the 2013 Summer Learning Challenge, which offered kids more ways to participate in creative learning activities and saw a  record 71,000 children participate. Patrons have access to both physical and digital resources at all 80 locations.

Winners of the National Medal were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach.

The award will be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on May 8.