San Mateo County Libraries Named Finalist for 2023 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Award Recognizes Libraries and Museums' Impact on Communities

Media Contact:

Katie Woods
San Mateo County Libraries
(650) 556-5209

Savannah Young
Institute of Museum and Library Services
(202) 248-5446

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that San Mateo County Libraries is among 30 finalists for the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. San Mateo County Libraries is one of 15 libraries being recognized nationwide.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

“This is an immense honor to be up for consideration,” said Sara McDowell, JPA Governing Board Chair. “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 their community libraries.

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

Through new challenges, San Mateo County Libraries persevered to deliver important services in innovative ways.

“So many museums and libraries across the country are committed to providing programs that are vital to the health and growth of engaged communities. We are very proud to announce the 30 finalists for this year’s IMLS National Medal,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “These institutions represent the best of what museums and libraries do for their communities.”

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging San Mateo County Libraries community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media using the hashtags #ShareYourStory and #IMLSmedals, and engage with IMLS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For more information, please visit the IMLS website.

National Medal winners will be announced in late May. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during an in-person National Medals Ceremony this summer.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.


About San Mateo County Libraries
San Mateo County Libraries is a Joint Powers Authority that operates libraries in the communities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, North Fair Oaks, Pacifica, Portola Valley, San Carlos and Woodside. San Mateo County Libraries ignite growth through transformative experiences. Visit for information about our community libraries, extensive digital and physical collections, innovative services, and numerous online resources and virtual programs and events.    

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. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.