Richland Library named national award winner, one of top five libraries in the country

The Institute of Museum of Library Services has named Richland Library as a winner of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. It’s the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for their service and dedication to the community.

Melanie Huggins making the announcement Monday in front of library board. (Terry Ward Photo)

The award comes after back-to-back years as a finalist. Melanie Huggins, library executive director, announced the award at a Monday morning news conference in front of the library’s board. She said it is the nation’s highest honor for libraries.

“What an incredible privilege to be named one of the top five libraries in the country,” said Huggins. “Not only does this recognition shine a positive spotlight on our community, but it acknowledges the efforts of our staff – that they are truly making a difference in the lives of local residents.”

Huggins is scheduled to travel to Washington, DC in the summer to accept the award. A community member is joining her to share a personal account of Richland Library’s influence on lives in the community every day.

For 23 years, the award has recognized and celebrated institutions demonstrating extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service that are also making a difference for individuals, families and entire communities.

IMLS is acknowledging Richland Library’s significance in the community, which had a door count of more than two million at its 11 locations last year. It also is highlighting Richland Library’s extensive reach in the following areas:

Response to the October 2015 historic flooding
Development of a social awareness task force
Participating in the White House’s ConnectED Challenge
Providing life skills to local detainees
Work with the Affordable Care Act
Evolution of the Business, Careers and Research Center
Early literacy efforts for families through Here Comes Kindergarten

The 10 winners of the 2017 National Medal – five libraries and five museums – were selected from 30 national finalists, which IMLS announced in March.

Categories: Blythewood, Columbia, Dentsville, Eastover, Education, Forest Acres, Hopkins, Lower Richland, Richland County