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RCPL Named Finalist for 2021 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service


We are proud and excited to share that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Federal agency that supports libraries and museums, announced that Redwood City Public Library is a finalist for their prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service. From over 150 applications received, the IMLS Board selected 15 libraries and 15 museums as finalists. Redwood City Public Library is the only finalist institution in California for 2021. In mid-late May, IMLS will select 3 libraries and 3 museums to receive the award. You can read the full press release by clicking: Press Release

The nomination and support letters highlight the Library's many contributions to the community, and the finalist status in this particular year is a tremendous reflection of the work Library staff have done to fulfill the Library's mission and service priorities in a year where the community needed so much. It's hard to summarize all the great work that has been done over the past couple years covered by the nomination period, but a few of the highlights have included:

  • The Library Takeover program to provide grants and staff support programs by partner individuals and organizations focused on residents of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, seniors, and veterans

  • The Human Library program to bridge differences and dispel stereotypes through one on one conversations

  • The elimination of fines to remove library access barriers for Latinx and low-income families disproportionately burdened by fines

  • The issuance of thousands of library cards to ensure that every student in the community had access to resources

  • The work of the RCPL CARES team to address racial inequities through policy changes, staff training, public programming, human resources practices, and equitable marketing of library services

  • The Bridging the Digital Divide project to provide wifi hotspots to the most vulnerable residents of our community

  • Partnerships with over 70 other community organizations

  • A grant project to provide inclusive sensory storytimes to youth on the autism spectrum

  • 10 high school diplomas awarded through the Career Online High School program

  • The quick pivot to curbside library services and the almost 14,000 appointments provided in 2020

  • The move to online programs and activities, with over 20,000 attending live, online programs and almost 20,000 more viewing prerecorded storytimes in 2020

  • The incredibly popular Stories from Our Community series that provided weekly opportunities for our residents to hear stories from groups as diverse as Redwood City firefighters, Zoppe Family Circus performers, Caltrain engineers, the Sequoia High School Black Student Union, and dozens of others

  • The distribution of over 8500 grocery packages by Project READ staff

  • Individual phone calls to over 6000 Redwood City businesses about pandemic financial support options

Congratulations to every member of the Library team for this recognition, and to the community and library partners for supporting your local library!



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