U Libraries named recipient of nation’s highest museum and library honor

May 15, 2017
Books on a table

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the University of Minnesota Libraries of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota as one of 10 recipients of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community.

The U of M libraries is just the third academic library to win the award in 23 years, which celebrates institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways, making a difference for individuals, families, and their communities. The award will be presented at an event in Washington, D.C., this summer.

The University Libraries is a trailblazing service provider and problem solver for a diverse and extraordinary number of communities. The Libraries develops and supports traditional and innovative services, collections, and partnerships that engage the University’s faculty, staff, and students in the pursuit of knowledge. As the state’s only research library, it reaches well beyond campus borders to develop and deliver high-demand services and programs to all 5.5 million Minnesota residents. Its archives and special collections serve several distinct, off-campus communities. And, with a foremost goal of equitable and open access, the Libraries shares its rich resources with a global audience.

“We are thrilled and honored to accept the National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the IMLS,” said Wendy Pradt Lougee, University Librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor at the University of Minnesota. “It affirms and recognizes the importance and impact of our work with students, faculty, and staff at the University — and with students, teachers, and citizens throughout the state of Minnesota — as well as a global community of scholars.

“We are proud to honor these 10 institutions with this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “These institutions play a critical role as community catalysts and provide vital resources that drive economic development, foster community well-being and spark neighborhood revitalization. We are proud of all ten museums and libraries and continue to celebrate their ongoing commitment to their communities.”  

A community member will join Lougee in Washington, D.C., for the summer event to provide a personal account of the power the University of Minnesota Libraries has had in Minnesota.

The recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service have employed powerful programs and services that exceed the expected levels of community outreach, in some cases changing the lives of those who enter their doors. The 10 winners were selected from 30 national finalists announced earlier in March.

After the ceremony, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit the University of Minnesota to document stories from the community.

For a complete list of 2017 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit www.imls.gov/2017-medals.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and approximately 35,000 museums. Our 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. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the University of Minnesota Libraries

The University of Minnesota is a comprehensive public university serving as both the state land-grant university, with a strong tradition of education and public service, and Minnesota’s primary research university, with faculty of national and international reputation. The University Libraries is a strategic resource of the Twin Cities campus and also provides integral information system support for the University’s four coordinate campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. Composed of 12 library facilities with collections of more than 8.1 million volumes — and with special collections valued at nearly $1 billion — the Libraries has a history of strength in research collections and a longstanding record of contribution to resource sharing within the state and beyond.

Media Contacts

Patrick Stumpf
Unit: 
News Service
Phone: 
612-624-2801
Email: 
pcstumpf@umn.edu
Mark Engebretson
Unit: 
Libraries
Phone: 
612-625-9148
Email: 
enge@umn.edu