WASHINGTON, DC (LOOTPRESS) – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) congratulated Cabell County Public Library in Huntington for being selected as one of six recipients of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This medal is the country’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant contributions to their communities.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabell County Public Library continued to provide West Virginians with quality broadband access through hotspots that allowed those studying and working at home to keep up as schools, businesses, and healthcare went virtual. Because of these innovative efforts, I nominated the Cabell County Public Library for this award, and I am thrilled they have been selected for their incredible service to their community,” said Senator Manchin.“Congratulations to the Cabell County Public Library on being selected for the highest national honor for libraries, this recognition is well deserved.”
“We are greatly honored to have been named a National Medal Winner for Library Service. This week is full of good news for Huntington with Marshall’s Men’s Soccer Team winning the national title and the Public Library winning the National Medal. We are so proud of our Library, our community, and our state,” said Judy Rule, Director of Cabell County Public Library.
“Cabell County Public Library has long set the gold standard for public library service in West Virginia. Judy Rule and her staff are willing to experiment, innovate, and sustain. They do this with confidence and then share the results with other libraries in the Western Counties region and across the state. I am delighted that the Cabell County Public Library’s commitment to service is being recognized with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service,” said Karen Goff, West Virginia State Librarian.
Cabell County Public Library participates in West Virginia Department of Education’s Kids Connect Program to allow students to connect to exterior wireless access points. During West Virginia’s Stay At Home order, the library opened its wireless connection to exterior access through its website to community members. West Virginians can also check out WiFi hotspots if they do not have access at home. The library also provides free webinars on study skills, online tutoring and test prep to West Virginia students. Cabell County Public Library is home to the Tri-State Literacy Council, a volunteer organization working to raise the literacy levels of adults. Additionally, the library provides information about local resources and services to support individuals in Cabell County.
Senator Manchin has partnered with IMLS and libraries across West Virginia to deliver reliable, affordable broadband to every West Virginian. Last year, Senator Manchin and Senator Collins introduced the HOTSPOTS Act to increase funding for library broadband hotspots in rural areas in West Virginia. In May 2020, Senator Manchin applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to partner with IMLS to help bridge the digital divide and expand broadband access in libraries across the United States. In March, Congress passed Senator Manchin’s HOTSPOTS Act within the American Rescue Plan, allocating $200 million – including a minimum of $2 million for each state – for the purchase of hotspots and Internet-connected devices to help address short-term connectivity needs for rural communities during the pandemic. As a result of Senator Manchin’s efforts, West Virginia has received $2,550,816 through IMLS to expand broadband access using mobile hotspots through libraries across the state.
Background information from the American Libraries Association on how libraries are bringing connectivity to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.