Local library is getting national attention as finalist for prestigious award

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Cabell County Public Library is one of only 30 finalists, and one of only 15 libraries, announced for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Services.

“It’s quite an honor! We were chosen as a finalist for the national medal, which is the highest honor bestowed upon libraries and museums in the United States,” says Judy Rule, the director for the Cabell County Public Library.

This year, the Cabell County Public Library was the only library in West Virginia to receive the distinction of ‘finalist’ from the Institute Of Museum and Library Services—which is the federal agency that oversees museums and libraries.

“The award is given to museums and libraries that make a change in their community and have a good influence on their community,” Rule says.

That influence was so widely felt, it attracted the notice of higher levels of government:

“Senator Manchin had recommended us for this award,” Rule says.  

One of the main things the library is proud of being recognized for is the major role it plays in its community.

“This library is pretty amazing with the stuff that it offers. A lot of people don’t realize that we have so much more than just books here… We’re linking people with needs to the resources that are going to meet their need. This library does a little bit of everything to make sure their community is served,” says Miranda West, an officer manager for the Information and Referral service of the library.

The positive national recognition is a big plus for the area:

“We try our best everyday to be a source of support and be a resource for our community and I think this award shows that we have been… to have that broadcast nationally I think is a great thing,” says Samantha Knauff, the executive director of the Tri-State Literacy Council.

It is quite a distinction; one that the state as a whole can be proud of.

“It makes me so proud of not only of the library, but of Huntington and Cabell County… We are, we’re good! You know? And then also, it’s a wonderful coup for our state,” Rule says.

There will be three winners chosen of the 15 library finalists, and those will be announced in late May.

The library is asking people to visit their Facebook page and share their stories about how the library has made a difference in their lives.

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