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Octavia Fellin Public Library to Receive 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

National Award Recognizes Exceptional Contributions of Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, N.M.

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2014) – The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that the Octavia Fellin Public Library of Gallup, N.M. is one of 5 libraries and 5 museums throughout the country to receive this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, has celebrated 20 years of institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.  The National Medal will be presented by First Lady MiOctavia-Fellin-Medalchelle Obama at an event to be held in the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 8. The Octavia Fellin Public Library is the only New Mexico library to receive the national medal.

The Octavia Fellin Public Library serves not only the City of Gallup and McKinley County, but also neighboring counties and residents of Arizona.   The Library is committed to providing quality services and programs that are inclusive of its community’s diverse cultures and ethnicities, reaching out well beyond its four walls. Often referred to as the heart of the community, the library significantly contributes to the region’s quality of life. Serving as the crossroad of the community, it encourages the sharing of ideas and exploration of interests and assures that resources are reflective of community needs. Maria Elena Reyes, who will be attending the award ceremony, from the Navajo Nation, remembers her mother taking the long drive to Gallup, so that she could attend library programs and use its resources. The library broadened her world and she now brings her children to the library.

Library Director Mary Ellen Pellington said, “We are all very humbled to be a recipient of the 2014 National Medal. We thank the City of Gallup and the entire community for making this possible.   In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the library’s name sake, Octavia Fellin, who served as Director from 1947 – 1990. Ms. Fellin was a true library champion in Gallup and will always be remembered for her contribution and commitment to this institution.”

Community member, Maria Elena Reyes will travel to Washington and share the impact the Octavia Fellin Public Library has had on her life, during the May 8 celebration.

Winners of the National Medal were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. After the ceremony, StoryCorps – a national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans – will visit the Octavia Fellin Public Library to document stories from the community.

These ten honorees exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums, and they include a natural history museum, a children’s museum, a natural sciences museum, an aquarium, a botanic garden, public library systems, and a book center, all hailing from ten states.

“Congratulations to the 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. From programs that foster passion for science, literature and cultural heritage, to critical 21st century skills training for improved educational outcomes and workforce readiness, the services and programs of these institutions truly do make a difference,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We thank each of this year’s medal recipients for their innovation and their dedication to serving their communities.”

For a complete list of 2014 recipients and to learn more about the National Medal winners, please visit

Celebrating 20 Years

This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.  Including the 2014 winners, 142 institutions have received this honor.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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