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Celebrating Museums and Libraries Champions of Change

June 20, 2013

By Susan Hildreth
Director, IMLS

Each week, the White House features a group of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.  On June 11, the White House honored twelve museum and library professionals who are strengthening educational, civic and cultural life in American communities. Click here to read blog posts from each of the library and museum Champions of Change.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth poses for a photo with the Champions of Change. Left to Right: Susan Hildreth, Sue Considine, Homa Naficy, David Becker, Jennifer Manley, Jamie Hollier, Gloria Tibbs, Elizabeth Babcock, Cheryl McCallum, Sandy Tharp-Thee, Harriet Henderson Coalter, Matthew Winner, Leslie Bushara.

These museum and library Champions are providing powerful learning experiences --

As I listened to the President’s State of the Union Address this year – it struck me that our nation’s libraries and museums have such an important role to play in growing a strong middle class.  I know that museums and libraries are part of what makes our country strong. I am also proud of the role that IMLS plays in providing funding and leadership to help libraries and museums make a difference.    Many of the champions that were honored are IMLS grant recipients.

Our twelve Museum and Library Champions of Change each spoke about projects at their institutions that help build a nation of lifelong learners and how they engage the public and integrate new immigrants to their communities. During their panel presentations we learned how libraries and museums are reaching young children and their families with early learning opportunities, offering exciting experiences for teens to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), helping immigrants learn English and pursue citizenship and providing services for hard-to-reach populations.

A special thanks to Kyle Lierman, Office of Public Engagement, Kumar Garg, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Gautam Raghavan, Associate Director of Public Engagement, and Stephanie Valencia, Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement, for joining me in furthering the conversation of how museums and libraries are an important part of our country.

The Champions of Change we honored on June 11 are:

  • Elizabeth Babcock, Ph.D., California Academy of Science
  • David Becker, Chicago Zoological Society
  • Leslie Bushara, Children’s Museum of Manhattan
  • Harriet Henderson Coalter, Richmond  Public Library
  • Sue Considine, Fayetteville Free Library
  • Jamie Hollier, Anneal
  • Jennifer Manly, Queens Borough Public Library
  • Cheryl McCallum, Ed.D., Children’s Museum of Houston
  • Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Library
  • Gloria Tibbs, University of Missouri-Kansas City Libraries
  • Sandy Tharp-Thee, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Library
  • Matthew Winner, Longfellow Elementary School

We know that libraries and museum are doing extraordinary things making a difference in their communities every day.  It was excellent to have this opportunity to celebrate this good work at the White House.

Our Champions created a buzz in the Twitterverse.