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Honoring and Serving Those Who Serve

November 9, 2012

By Susan Hildreth
Director, IMLS

As Veterans Day approaches, I would like to take a moment to honor and thank all military personnel who served and continue to serve the United States. These men and women deserve our deepest gratitude as they defend the freedoms and rights of our country. Not all of us serve in this way, but many libraries and museums support veterans, active military, and their families.

Here is a sampling of some great library and museum programs.

Veterans and their family members in Illinois can take part in an oral history project that is serving as a national model. Participants can go online or visit public libraries in person to sign on to Illinois Veterans History Project and record their stories about their service to their country. These amazing stories can be found online at the Illinois Veterans History Project YouTube channel and are part of the Library of Congress’s American Folk Life Centers Veteran Oral History Project.

More than 1800 museums are offered free summer admission to military families through Blue Star Museums, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense.

IMLS and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration are helping libraries and workforce centers to serve job seekers, including troops transitioning to the civilian workforce. One example is the Hiring Our Heroes job fair held by the New Jersey State Library and the Mercer Library in Trenton. Services included training for the job search, designing and writing resumes, and assistance in the application process.

The Pritzker Military Library, a recipient of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Services, maintains an accessible collection of materials focusing on the citizen soldier. These stories of sacrifice, courage, and triumph are told through the collection and through free monthly programming held at the library and recorded for webcasts and podcasts. The programs are also shown on local PBS stations.

Please let us know how your library or museum is honoring our service members this Veterans Day.