The Haines Borough Public Library is one of 30 finalists for a prestigious, national award. (Photo courtesy of HBPL)

The Haines Borough Public Library is one of 30 finalists for a prestigious, national award. (Photo courtesy of HBPL)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced this week that the Haines Borough Public Library is among 30 finalists for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. KHNS’s Jillian Rogers has more.

For 22 years, the award has been presented to organizations which demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities. Fifteen libraries and 15 museums, big and small, are chosen from a larger pool of nominees.

Dr. Kathryn Matthew is the director of the institute awarding the honor. She said in a statement that the finalists make lasting differences in their communities by serving and inspiring the public. She added that the institute proudly recognizes these organizations for their work to provide Americans with educational resources, 21st century skills, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski nominated the Haines library. Director Patricia Brown said they were nominated last year, too, but this is the first time they’ve been selected as a finalist. She said there are a lot of reasons why the library is so exceptional.

“The community support is what makes it valuable and special; the staff, the strong library board members and also the Friends of the Library that able to help us in so many ways create additional programs,” Brown said. “We also have a 12-year partnership with the Chilkoot Indian Association and I think that makes it very valuable.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the main source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

The Haines library and Juneau Public Libraries are the only two Alaska institutions on the list of finalists. They’re in the company of prestigious museums and libraries from across the nation. Winners will be selected later this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony at the White House in May. Last year, the public library in Craig was among the 10 winners from around the country.

The Institute encourages those who have visited finalist libraries and museums to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page. To learn more about the 2016 National Medal finalists, click here.