One of the winners of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service awards is The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Center introduces students to modern Yiddish literature in an attempt to save the Yiddish language from disappearing. In the past 34 years, they’ve collected over a million books. The center’s founder and president, Aaron Lansky said, “Our goal is to put old books in the hands of new readers, so we have distributed books to libraries across the world.”
“We literally pulled books out of garbage cans and off street corners.” In the past five years, the library has posted 12,000 books online that have been downloaded more than 100,000 times, Mr. Lansky said. “We’re pushing the envelope of what it means to be a library.”
Other award winners of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York.
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana.
- Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Nevada.
- Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Missouri.
- Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut.
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, New Mexico.
- Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, Oklahoma.
- Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Massachusetts.
The annual awards are presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Service, the main source of federal support for the country’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.
First lady, Michelle Obama, will hand out the medals.