Harris County Public Library Receives the Nation’s Highest Museum and Library Honor

National Medal for Museum and Library Service Recognizes Harris County Public Library’s Community Contributions

HOUSTON, TEXAS —The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced Harris County Public Library (HCPL) of Houston, Texas today as one of 10 recipients of the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Over the past 30 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“IMLS is delighted to announce the 10 recipients of the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said IMLS Acting Director Cyndee Landrum. “These institutions and their dedicated staff are stepping up to anticipate and meet the needs of their individual communities. From New York to Arizona, these 10 recipients are unparalleled sources of education, health, jobs, and cultural resources, bridging the gaps of distance, resources, and experience for community members. We look forward to honoring their accomplishments in Washington, DC, this summer!”

HCPL was nominated for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by U.S. Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher and Sheila Jackson Lee. The nomination highlighted the library’s programs to increase equitable access to services, technology, information, and education for Harris County residents:

  • HCPL leveraged Emergency Connectivity Fund grants to partner with Google and T-Mobile to provide free laptop computers and 5G hotspots to 70,000 residents who lacked reliable home internet service and the devices to connect to it for school and work.
  • The library’s concerted efforts reach low-income and resource-starved areas by building long-term productive relationships with community organizations
  • HCPL's expanding English language learning and naturalization programs
  • The library's partnership with Harris County Juvenile Probation Department to bring library services to young men and women completing residential programs within the HCJPD system.
  • HCPL’s Mobile Outreach Librarians and a fleet of outreach vehicles bring customized educational programs and services wherever Harris County residents gather.

“It is truly gratifying to be recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Service for the work we do to strengthen communities in Harris County,” says Edward Melton, HCPL Executive Director, “This award is, in part, a ringing validation of our belief that public libraries should be a driving force for positive change. HCPL is committed to identifying and meeting the ever-evolving needs of all the communities we serve.”

Selected from 30 national finalists, the 10 recipients of the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service represent institutions that provide dynamic programming and services that exceed expected levels of service. Through their community outreach, these institutions bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive.

The award will be presented at a ceremony this summer in Washington, DC. For a complete list of 2024 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal awardees, visit the IMLS website.

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 libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Harris County Public Library

Harris County Public Library enriches lives to strengthen communities. The library has an annual circulation of nearly 14 million items and consistently ranks in the top ten worldwide for digital circulation. HCPL is a network of 27 community-focused branch libraries offering programs and services that nurture literacy and lifelong learning for all ages. The library is committed to providing excellent customer service, strong collections, and cutting-edge information technology for the 21st Century.  Visit www.hcpl.net for more information.

News Coverage

"2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service" | Institute of Museum and Library Services, May 21, 2024

"2 Houston institutions awarded national medals for museums and libraries" | CultureMap Houston, May 21, 2024

"Harris County Public Library community programs deemed among best in U.S." | Community Impact, May 29, 2024

"Children's Museum Houston, Harris County Public Library win 2024 National Medal" | KPRC Click2Houston, June 1, 2024

Harris County Public Library, Children's Museum Houston win prestigious national medal | Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2024

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Harris County Public Library