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2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service
2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service Recipient
Memphis Public Libraries is one of six recipients of the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities, making us the first-ever two-time recipient (2007 and 2021).
Library staff from across the system celebrate with the National Medal for Museum & Library Service!
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has named Memphis Public Libraries as one of 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. We are honored to represent Memphis and Tennessee as this is the nation’s highest honor bestowed upon libraries and museums. The winners of the award will be announced in early May. Through March and April we’ll be sharing our story, and we need YOU to share your story, too!
How do I share my story?
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is encouraging anyone whose life has been touched by one of the finalist libraries to share their memories and pictures on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #IMLSMedals and #ShareyourMPLstory. Please tag us too!
Here are some of our stories. We wouldn’t be a finalist without you and our many partners throughout the community.
LINC/2-1-1 Met the challenge
Whether it’s Hurricane Elvis or the Coronavirus, LINC/2-1-1 has answered the call through thick and thin since 1975. From April through August, 2020, LINC/2-1-1 fielded 25% more calls than usual with other librarians being called in to help meet the demand.
With libraries opened limited hours, librarians served as contact tracers early in the pandemic. Fifty librarians worked with the Shelby County Health Department to follow up on positive cases and help track down recent contacts.
wypl covid press briefings
The Library Channel/WYPL, the Libraries TV and radio station, were called upon to produce the daily/weekly COVID Task Force press briefings. The conferences streamed on Facebook Live and aired on the TV and Radio station.
Beginning March 20, 2020, we began assisting MIFA to support the Meals on Wheels program as they had to discontinue volunteer operations. Over 60 library staff stepped up to deliver meals, providing over 2,800 hours of support.
SCS/YMCA Food distribution
Several library locations served as pick-up points for Shelby County Schools and YMCA food distribution. Library staff assisted with the processing and handing out of meals and instructional material to children.
Memphis Public Libraries closed their doors on March 18, but re-opened May 4th with limited capacity, providing critical access to public computers. We have had over 134,000 computer sessions from May through February.
access to our collections
Opening on May 4 provided access to our collections as over 450,000 physical items checked out between May and February. We also expanded our services to include Curbside Pickup. In addition, customers can submit Children’s Book Bundles and our children’s librarians will hand-pick a bundle of books based on your input.
e-books and e-audiobooks
After the Safer at Home order went into effect, the library increased OverDrive eBook/eAudio collection size by adding nearly 12,000 titles initially. We have since added nearly 20,000 copies. The number of checkouts increased 32% over the same time period the year prior. The number of checkouts for Children’s material increased 252%.
“I appreciate your work supporting the digital collection, and it is especially helpful in the current crisis…being able to access a steady diet of both information and entertainment is helping to keep me together.” – eBook customer
With the initial Safer at Home order, we launched our first online reading challenge with prizes given to top participants. Over 992,000 reading minutes were logged by the 1,771 participants, 70% of which were youth.
We’ve gathered online for book clubs, story times, concerts, classes on cooking, painting, gardening, writing, and so much more. Over 10,500 people have attended our virtual programs, youth consisting of 68% of attendees.
“These programs are vital for keeping us connected, learning new skills, and just having fun!” – Ukulele concert attendee