Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to Receive National Medal for Museum and Library Service Today in White House Ceremony Celebration Featuring First Lady Michelle Obama Highlights Impact of Ohio Libraries

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2013) - This afternoon, in a White House ceremony in the East Room, First Lady Michelle Obama will join Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Susan Hildreth to present the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The nation's highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, the National Medal celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. Kimber Fender, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director, and community member Amina Tuki will accept the National Medal.

From a small village in Ethiopia without running water or electricity, Amina Tuki came to Cincinnati as a refugee with her husband in the early 1990s. Unable to read her native language of Amharic, learning English was a monumental challenge. Amina's first steps into the library were to meet a tutor from the YWCA to work on her English and since that time, she's taken infinite steps to further her language and communication skills. Unable to help her daughter Hannah with her homework, Amina marched into the library and used Homework Central. And when the Adult Learning Center opened in 2011, Amina herself participated in classes to work on her English skills. She reflects, "One day, I picked up a small book given by the library called 'Coming to America.' It took me all day, but I made my way through the pages highlighting the challenges - and joys - of coming to a new country. I took it home and told my husband and two daughters I would read them a story. And I did. My oldest daughter cried when I finished."

"Museums and libraries serve as centers for lifelong learning and as cornerstones for our communities. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is fostering lifelong learning for community members young and old, and we are proud to name this library one of this year's National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners," said Susan Hildreth, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This year's 10 honorees<http://www.imls.gov/national_medal_to_be_awarded_today_at_white_house.aspx> exemplify the nation's great diversity of libraries and museums and include a science center, children's museum, music museum, art museum, cultural museum, public libraries, and county library systems, hailing from seven states. The 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service Ceremony will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live<http://www.whitehouse.gov/live> beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

"The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has always played an instrumental role in the lives of Cincinnatians young and old and is truly one of our community's greatest assets. Congratulations to all the individuals who have worked so hard to make our library system one of the best in the country," said U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (Ohio).

"Congratulations to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for receiving the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This award honors only the most outstanding institutions in the United States. Going back to the days of Ben Franklin in Philadelphia, public libraries have been crucial to elevating the education and civic literacy of our citizens. Likewise, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and its sixteen branches in Ohio's Second Congressional District, have played a similar role in our community. Congratulations to the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on this much deserved recognition," said U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (Ohio).

Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Later this year, StoryCorps - a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans - will visit Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to document stories from the community.

To learn more about the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners, please visit www.imls.gov/medals<http://www.imls.gov/medals>.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristin Drouin
(202) 414-0781; kdrouin@susandavis.com<mailto:kdrouin@susandavis.com>

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 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/USIMLS> and Twitter<http://www.twitter.