Skip to Content Skip to Content

Memphis Public Library Named Finalist for 2021 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Memphis Public Library Named Finalist for 2021 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced Thursday that the Memphis Public Libraries is among 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Memphis Public Libraries is the only institution in Tennessee to be selected as a finalist for this award. 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.

“We are thrilled to be honored by the IMLS as a finalist for this prestigious medal,” said Library Director Keenon McCloy. “As unfortunate as the pandemic is, it has highlighted more than ever the dedication, creativity, hard work, and innovation of MPL’s staff, volunteers, and support organizations like the Board of Trustees, Memphis Library Foundation, and the Friends of the Library.”

MPL was forced to close its doors in March for 6 weeks for public safety, but were hard at work behind the scenes the entire time providing resource referrals through LINC/2-1-1, collaborating with the Mayor’s joint task force to produce health and safety content through the in-house television station, WYPL, creating protocols for curbside pick-up and facility safety, delivering meals to vulnerable residents through MIFA, conducting contact tracing with the Shelby County Health Department, and producing a robust continuum of digital programming.

Upon reopening, Memphis Public Library has expanded digital inclusion resources, kept customers engaged with virtual learning, and continually evolved its services to meet critical community needs. Memphis is a grit and grind city, and MPL truly embodies this spirit by going above and beyond each day for those we serve, regardless of the circumstances.

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging MPL’s community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media and engage with IMLS on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, please visit the IMLS website. National Medal winners will be announced in late spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during a virtual National Medal Ceremony this summer. To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact CHRIS MARSZALEK at or Brittany Vanderpool (IMLS) at or 202-248-5487 for more details