San Mateo County Libraries: 2023 National Medal Finalist

We are delighted to be a finalist for the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, opens a new window!

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, opens a new window announced today that San Mateo County Libraries is among 30 finalists for this special award, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries.

The award is given to recognize libraries and museums that demonstrate a significant impact in their communities.

We were selected as a finalist after an extensive application process, including community letters of support and a nomination by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congresswoman Jackie Speier. In advocating for our library system, the congresswomen shared about some of our biggest impacts.

Public libraries welcome all, provide a place of refuge, and are a vital component of community building. San Mateo County Libraries is designing spaces, programs and services to fill critical resource gaps in our communities. As a leader in the field, they are focused on critical community needs such as family engagement, early learning, out of school time, food insecurity, and access to technology.” - Congresswoman Jackie Speier 

Along with opening new facilities, San Mateo County Libraries recently established seven-day-a-week service throughout their entire system for the first time. This will ensure more community members will benefit from the libraries’ offerings. San Mateo County Libraries provides outstanding educational services for my constituents and is highly deserving of this prestigious award.” - Congresswoman Anna Eshoo 

This honor recognizes the specific contributions of our programs to support critical community needs such as summer learning, early learning, meals service, mindfulness and wellness supports, workforce development and access to technology.

“This is an immense honor to be up for consideration,” Sara McDowell, JPA Governing Board Chair, said. “Through our innovative, ongoing efforts, we have been able to meet critical community needs and to provide equitable library programs that leave a lasting impression on the people we serve.”

The nomination recognizes the library system’s commitment to exceptional service, something staff work toward every day across all 13 of our community libraries.

“At San Mateo County Libraries we are champions of learning, growing and bright futures,” Anne-Marie Despain, Director of San Mateo County Libraries said. “We strive to ignite growth through transformative experiences, and we are thrilled to be recognized for our achievement through this national honor.”

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging community members like you to share stories, memories, pictures and videos on social media using the hashtags #ShareYourStory and #IMLSmedals, and engage with IMLS on Twitter, opens a new window, Facebook, opens a new window and Instagram, opens a new window.

We’d also love for you to tag us @SMCLibraries, across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.