Memphis Public Library And Information Center Awarded The Prestigious National Medal

November 7, 2007
Press Release

U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) nominated the Memphis Public Library for the award. He said, “I take immense pride in the recognition of our own Memphis Public Library & Information Center for their outstanding service to the City of Memphis by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS ought to be commended for awarding their distinguished National Medal to our library system, and I offer my sincerest congratulations to the hardworking and dedicated staff of the Memphis Public Libraries. This honor is long overdue."

This past year, the Memphis Public Library system recorded more than 3 million visits, up 4.3 percent from the prior year, and sponsored nearly 3,000 programs, averaging 26 participants per course. This success can be attributed to the library’s own mission to “satisfy the customer’s need to know.”

With literacy remaining one of the greatest obstacles for the Memphis Public Library community, the library system has focused many of its outreach efforts on helping residents improve their reading proficiency. InfoBUS, for example, sends a colorful, 40-foot bus to visit neighborhoods with high immigrant populations to offer library services and help with assimilation, while the Read to Erase Your Fines project allows kids who have lost their library privileges due to overdue fines to be reinstated by reading to seniors. Last year, meanwhile, the library petitioned the State of Tennessee to become the area’s 2-1-1 information provider, giving callers timely updates and information pertinent to the Memphis community.

The Memphis Public Library has an impeccable reputation for gauging the needs and interests of the community it serves, and through its many outreach activities, has improved the quality of life for its patrons, both young and old.

"The Memphis Public Library system has long been distinguished by the wide array of

programs and services it offers to the community with extremely limited resources,” continued Congressman Cohen. “From the mobile InfoBUS and employment-finding services to its award-winning health information services and excellent broadcasting on television and radio, the Memphis Public Library system continually impacts the lives of the citizens of Shelby County in a positive way. For nearly 115 years, Memphians’ thirst for knowledge has been quenched on South Front Street at the Cossitt-Goodwyn Institute, which still stands at the same location and serves as one of the 18 library branches. In 2001, the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library opened its doors and brought the system into the 21st Century with a bang. I still get chills when I walk into that building – the beautiful architecture, the wealth of information at your fingertips, and the helpful and friendly staff make us all proud.”



Marilyn Dillihay, Press Secretary, (202) 225-3265 / (202) 368-9275 (mobile)

Charlie Gerber, Communications Assistant, (202) 225-3265 / (202) 320-2817 (mobile)