National medal for library service presented to Multnomah County Library

PORTLAND, OR – Representatives from Multnomah County Library are in Washington, D.C., today to receive the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The annual award, given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.

Multnomah County Library is being recognized for its programs, services and outreach to Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese speakers and as a leader in the area of early childhood literacy services. Multnomah County Library is also rated a five-star library (the highest ranking possible) by Library Journal based on per capita visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use.

The IMLS brought Library Director Vailey Oehlke, Library Advisory Board Chair Virginia Koontz and community member Vadim Riskin to Washington, D.C., to accept the award on behalf of the citizens of Multnomah County. Oehlke, Koontz and Riskin also took part in a symposium earlier in the week to share stories highlighting the power of museums and libraries to change lives.

Photographs and video of the medal presentation will be available after 2 p.m. PST on the IMLS website.

A video with highlights of the award-winning institutions is also available from the IMLS website.