Libraryland: Mid-Continent Adds To KC Area’s Roll of National Medal Winners

Library Life

Call us America’s library capital – or at least, one of them.

The Mid-Continent Public Library, whose sprawling system counts five branches in Kansas City and more than two dozen others in the surrounding area, has been named a recipient of the nation’s highest honor for libraries: the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Here here! The announcement was made Thursday, April 24, 2014, by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Kansas City Public Library was a National Medal honoree in 2008, cited for making “a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities.” The Johnson County Public Library received the award in 2005. The area is a confirmed bastion of library excellence.

Only Chicago — with three National Medal libraries in the city, itself, and another in suburban Skokie, Illinois — compares. Los Angeles has a couple. San Antonio has two, including the medical library at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Missouri has produced two other honorees since National Medals were first awarded in 1994: the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia (in ’94) and the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden (in 2012).

In response to this year’s selections, Mid-Continent Director and CEO Steven Potter wrote on the system’s website, “This is an unbelievable honor and a testament to all the hard work and great service performed by (the) library and the team of dedicated library professionals, both past and present.”

Agreed. We thought the IMLS got it right in 2005 and 2008. It did again in 2014.