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Rochester Public Library awarded National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Rochester Public Library awarded National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Rochester Public Library is being celebrated as one of the nation's best.

On Tuesday, the library was named a recipient of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award is the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that " bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive." The Rochester library was one of 10 institutions selected to receive the medal this year. 

“We’re incredibly honored to be recognized for our innovative approaches to removing barriers," said library director Audrey Betcher. “The National Medal recognizes RPL’s dedication to equity and providing welcoming spaces for all community members. We strive to listen and respond so that every member of our community has the opportunity to succeed.”

The award will be presented at an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., on May 24. As part of the ceremony and celebration, community member James Arnold will travel to the nation's capital with Betcher to accept the National Medal on behalf of the library and provide a personal account of the power the library has had in the community.

RPL is only the fourth Minnesota library to win the award in 24 years — joining the University of Minnesota Libraries (2017), Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (2011) and St. Paul Public Library (2005).

Following the ceremony, the nonprofit StoryCorps will visit the Rochester Public Library and provide an opportunity for community members to share stories of how the library has affected their lives. These stories will be preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

“It’s exciting to know that the stories of our community members are being preserved as part of this award,” Betcher said in a news release.

You can see the full list of 2018 winners here.

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