National Recognition for MCPL
April 24, 2014
I am sure many of you have already heard, but MCPL has incredible news that I wanted to share with you. We have been awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Service National Medal for 2014! This is an unbelievable honor and a testament to all the hard work and great service performed by your library and the team of dedicated library professionals, both past and present.
There are 10,000 public libraries in the United States and five were awarded the National Medal this year. IMLS awards the medal to libraries who “demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach.” I have known for some time how much this fits our system, but it is great to get affirmation from an institution that knows libraries as well as IMLS.
Our application focused on three points, and the IMLS is recognizing your library for the following efforts.
First, our commitment to collections is not common. We created very popular online resources, like the "Based on the Book" and "Juvenile Series and Sequels" databases. We also have been creating oral histories and digitizing collections at MGC. You might remember that MCPL routinely spends twice as much on buying and licensing new library material annually than any other library of a similar size.
Second, our efforts around literacy are very important. Starting with our very successful and long running Summer Reading Program and Teen Summer Reading Program, we have been building a foundation around early literacy training. More recently, we introduced programs like 6 in 12, the Winter Reading Challenge, and Read Aloud 1-2-3. MCPL's literacy efforts have been instrumental. With new efforts, like our efforts to measure Summer Reading Effectiveness and our more holistic approach to literacy found in the Woodneath Story Center, we are poised to continue this tradition.
Finally, our effort around community engagement through programming is seen as very special. Programs like the Veteran's Salute, Pink Parties, Small Business Outreach, and our Homeschool Programs are all great examples what makes MCPL distinct. Libraries are a place to foster collaboration and to build community. Efforts around programming help people learn, grow, and come together.
Maybe you might think every library does what we do. When I was growing up in Independence, that is what I thought. It wasn't until I went away to college that I discovered that MCPL is truly special. Not every library has the same customer focus, the same commitment to collection, or the same great staff. We have grown to provide service in a unique way.
Mid-Continent Public Library will celebrate our golden anniversary in 2015. I think this is a great time for us all to reflect on how far our library has come in the past 50 years. I look forward to celebrating this great honor together with the staff and the community over the coming months.
Steven V. Potter
Library Director and CEO