Brooklyn Public Library Named a Recipient of Nation’s Highest Museum and Library Honor

UPDATED JUNE 2016: First Lady Michelle Obama presented the National Medal for Museums and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that serve their communities, to the Brooklyn Public Library on June 1 in Washington, D.C. Choosen among 30 finalists, the BPL and the nine other honerees are national leaders in community outreach and programming, supportive services, and overall excellence. 

Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library, was on hand to accept the award. Kim Best, a community member, joined Johnson at the White House to share the impact Brooklyn Public Library has had on her life. Later this year, StoryCorps—a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans—will visit BPL to document stories from the community.

In April, Brooklyn Public Library was named one of 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community, according to a press release from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that respond to societal needs in innovative ways. Brooklyn Public Library was recognized in part for the work of its Outreach Services Department, which offers citizenship classes for new Americans, creative aging workshops for older adults, an oral history project for veterans, and the Books-to-Go program for homebound library patrons.

BPL is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States, offering a variety of free programs and services for all residents, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. 

“Our receipt of the National Medal is a tribute to the hundreds of librarians, staff members and volunteers who make Brooklyn Public Library a resource the entire community can turn to, a place where all people can be inspired to pursue their dreams and do their best thinking,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We are dedicated to serving a large, diverse borough, including children discovering the joys of literacy, students visiting our branches after school, families on the wrong side of the digital divide, immigrants eager to become United States citizens and the innovators who have remade Brooklyn’s image and economy.”

For a complete list of 2016 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, visit

RELATED: Find More Academic Enrichment Resoures Near You

Main photo credit: Earl Zubkoff

Caption: First Lady Michelle Obama (middle) presents the National Medal for Museum and Library Service to Brooklyn Public Library President & CEO Linda E. Johnson (right), and community member Kim Best (left).

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates on fun events and other family activities in your area.