Richland Library representatives are in Washington, D.C., Monday to receive a top national honor.
The library won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, one of 10 institutions nationwide to receive the award this year – and the only one in South Carolina. The award is given by the federal government to museums and libraries for service to their communities.
The ceremony is set for 3 p.m. Monday at the National Archives Museum.
Richland Library representatives will be on hand, along with Columbia community member Josiah Washington, a student who credits Richland Library with helping to develop his passion for learning. Washington previously appeared on “Jeopardy.” Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and author and journalist Cokie Roberts will speak at the event.
Richland Library’s mission has been evolving over the past several years, with the facilities becoming a community resource beyond books. Of the library’s many community programs, the Institute of Museums and Library Services specifically cited the library’s post-flooding outreach, FEMA sign-up initiatives and ConnectED Library Challenge, an effort to get a library card for every child enrolled in school.
Last fiscal year, Richland Library saw more than 2.3 million visitors at its 11 locations, issued more than 30,000 new library cards, checked out more than 4.5 million items and offered 4,600 programs. That’s 500 more programs than it offered five years ago.
Richland Library also is impacting the community by renovating every library in its system.
Three South Carolina institutions have received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service: Columbia Museum of Art in 2016, EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia in 2011 and Georgetown County Library in 2007.
This year’s other winners include:
▪ Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (Alaska State Museums) (Juneau, Alaska)
▪ Aspen Art Museum (Aspen, Colorado)
▪ Cedar Rapids Public Library (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
▪ Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (Skokie, Illinois)
▪ Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)
▪ Long Beach Public Library (Long Beach, California)
▪ Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (Oakland, California)
▪ University of Minnesota Libraries (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
▪ Waterville Public Library (Waterville, Maine)