Your Library Wins Nation's Highest Honor!
National Medal for Museum and Library Service


View the IMLS Press Release


View the IMLS profile of
Skokie Public Library


View the National Medal
Video Highlights


View photos of award festivities at the Library and the White House


View photos from the Library's community celebration

View Carolyn Anthony's
reception comments

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First Lady Laura Bush awarded Skokie Public Library the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, at a White House ceremony on October 7. Each year, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in coordination with the White House, awards the national medal to five libraries and five museums that have helped make their communities better places to live. Each winner also receives a $10,000 award.

Skokie Public Library received the award for:

  • Founding and continuing cosponsorship of the annual Skokie Festival of Cultures, which provides two days of ethnic foods, music, dance, crafts, fun cultural activities for kids, and a chance for integral community development
  • The Library’s multilingual website and reading, visual, and audio materials
  • Presenting the Young Steinway Concert Series, now in its 27th year, which provides valuable performing experience for exceptionally talented youth and free concerts for the community

Through its myriad programs, Skokie Public Library has become an essential part of the Skokie community, offering all of its visitors—regardless of race, ethnicity, or ability—numerous opportunities to interact and learn.

photo"The library is integrated into the fabric of the community, constantly working in collaboration with other organizations to address the ever-changing needs of and challenges facing Skokie,” said Carolyn Anthony, Director of Skokie Public Library. “Because we serve such a diverse population, we focus on building community and supporting lifelong learning and the exchange of ideas among groups and individuals."

"I’m proud, but not surprised, that the Skokie Public Library was one of only ten institutions in the nation to receive the 2008 National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “The Skokie Public Library is constantly redefining and expanding its role and has become an indispensable part of our community—providing access to information, resources, and services that have helped change the lives of local residents. I congratulate the visionary leadership of Carolyn Anthony and her staff. They have created a local treasure and a model for the country. I can't imagine a more deserving library than the Skokie Public Library.”

photo"By its example, the Skokie Public Library shows us the kind of influence and impact that libraries can have on community life. Through its innovative programs and active partnerships, the Library addresses the urgent and changing needs of the community it serves,” said Anne-Imelda M. Radice, IMLS Director.

The other winners of the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:

  1. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center; Cody, Wyoming
  2. The Franklin Institute; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  3. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museum; Crawfordsville, Indiana
  4. The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library, Inc.; Dorado, Puerto Rico
  5. The Kansas City Public Library; Kansas City, Missouri
  6. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum; New York, New York
  7. The Miami-Dade Public Library System; Miami, Florida
  8. The Norton Museum of Art; West Palm Beach, Florida
  9. The Skidompha Library; Damariscotta, Maine

This is the second year that IMLS has awarded medals to 10 institutions. In previous years, the National Medal was known as the National Award for Museum and Library Service and was awarded to three museums and three libraries annually.

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About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

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About Skokie Public Library

Skokie Public Library serves one of the most diverse suburbs in the United States, in which more than 42 percent of residents are foreign born and more than 97 languages are spoken at home. The Library embraces the diversity of its constituency and takes great pride in tailoring its collections and programming to the many populations it serves. Visit the Library online at or in person at 5215 Oakton Street, Skokie, Illinois. A Skokie Public Library photostream is also available on Flickr.

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For more information about Skokie Public Library, please contact Christie Robinson at 847.324.3126 .

Photo highlights from National Medal festivities at the Library
and the White House!