Georgetown Public Library, IMLS Medal Library

Georgetown PL Library Director Eric Lashley (center with tie) and Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross (center with jacket) celebrate the IMLS medal with the staff and supporters.

On May 1 the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that the Georgetown Public Library was one of five libraries and five museums in the United States to win the National Medal for Library and Museum Services.

This is a very big deal.

In the first place, this is the highest award that a library in the United States can win. And Texas is very overdue: despite having several outstanding Texas libraries on the longer list of finalists in recent years, no Texas library has won since 2006. What’s more, Georgetown is only the third Texas library and only the second Texas public library to ever win the award in its over 20-year history (the other Texas winners were San Antonio Public in 2006 and the UT Health Sciences Library in 2004). Also, notably, the El Paso Museum of Art also won this year in the museum category–a good year for Texas!

I will be privileged and very excited to be in Washington D.C. on May 24 to see Georgetown Public Library win this award. They will be honored for their extraordinary level of responsiveness to their community, for their forward-looking programs, for creating a library that epitomizes the transformational library as learning center, technology hub, and center of civic and cultural engagement. Director Eric Lashley and his outstanding library team–with wholehearted support from the City and the Friends of the Library–have created a library that is popular, engaged, energetic, and relevant.

The medal is confirmation that while Texas libraries lag behind expenditures of most other states, our library staffs continue to do more with less, creating library services that is every bit as innovative and transformational as any other state. Congratulations and thank you to Georgetown for bringing this medal to Texas, and thank you to all the libraries and museums of Texas that provide great service everyday without national recognition.