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San José Public Library Awarded 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

IMLS Press Contacts


Natasha Marstiller,

Mamie Bittner,


San José  Public Library Receives Highest National Honor for Its

Outstanding Community Service


The Institute of Museum and Library Services National MedalSan José, CA—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has selected the San José Public Library (SJPL)as one of only ten libraries and museums to receive the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that demonstrate extraordinary innovative approaches to public service and community outreach.


San José Public Library is the first city library in California to receive the award and was selected for meeting the information and learning needs of its ethnically diverse community, stellar innovative and educational programs, and for providing its customers with on demand services and self-service options that enhance their library experience such as self-checkout machines and online account services.


“Congratulations to the San José Public Library on receiving the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  The work you have done is an inspiration to libraries and museums throughout the nation,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director. “With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart you have achieved an outstanding level of public service.”


 “I am pleased that the San José Public Library System is receiving this distinguished recognition from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said Congressman Mike Honda, who nominated San José Public Library for the award. “Here in Silicon Valley, we pride ourselves on innovation. SJPL is an international model for providing traditional and cutting edge library services to all Silicon Valley residents. Under the direction of Jane Light, the SJPL developed new programs and methods which have positively redefined the role of libraries in our community.”


As the recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, San José Public Library will be honored during the National Medal ceremony in Washington D.C. later this year and receive a $10,000 award. Story Corps will also be visiting San José Public Library to document community members’ stories about the medal-winning library and its impact on their lives.


“We are extremely proud of our libraries here in San José and I’d like to thank the Institute for Museum and Library Services for this distinguished honor,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “This award is a testament to the many staff, volunteers and supporters who have helped San José libraries continue to provide excellent services during these tough budget times.”


The other institutions that received the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:


  • Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
  • Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH
  • EdVenture Children’s Museum, Columbia, SC
  • Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
  • Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Collegeville, MN
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
  • Madison Children’s Museum, Madison, WI
  • Weippe Public Library & Discovery Center, Weippe, ID

“I am truly honored and delighted that IMLS has chosen San José Public Library as one of the ten institutions to receive the National Medal,” said Jane Light, SJPL Library Director. “It is indeed a recognition that could not have been achieved if it weren’t for the dedicated and friendly staff members that work very hard every day to provide the much needed and heavily used library services the community desires.”


More about the Medal

IMLS is the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries. The National Medal for Museum and Library Service was created to highlight the vital role these institutions play in American society. Recipients are selected by the director of IMLS following an open nomination process and based on the recommendations of the National Museum and Library Services Board.


About San José Public Library

San José Public Library system (SJPL) is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the West Coast of California, serving a culturally diverse population of approximately 946,000 in the nation’s 10th largest city. SJPL is recognized across the country for its innovation and leadership in the field and is one of the busiest library systems nationwide, with an annual checkout rate of more than 13.5 million items through 19 currently operating locations. For more information, visit



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