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​Thank You from City Librarian Rita Hamilton

Dear Phoenix Public Library Customers, Partners, and Supporters,

As you know, Phoenix Public Library was recently named as one of only 30 finalists for the 2015 Institute of Museum and Library Services' National Medal. With over 150 museums and libraries across the nation submitting nominations, being a Finalist is an achievement in and of itself.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the 10 National Medal winners, and unfortunately Phoenix Public Library was not chosen. We are understandably disappointed by the news.  However what we have learned in this process more than offsets that disappointment.  We are humbled by the unbelievable outpouring of support we received as we asked each of you to spread the word of our Finalist status and to share your Library story. We are humbled by the volume of support; over 350 people and organizations either submitted their stories to us or posted their support on the IMLS Facebook page. We are especially humbled by the depth of feeling shared in your stories, and the significant impact Phoenix Public Library's programs, services, and staff has had on the lives of those who cross our threshold.

We deeply appreciate how the City of Phoenix, Mayor Stanton, City Council and upper City Management rallied around our campaign. We are delighted by our affiliates' and community stakeholders' descriptions of how the impact of our partnered programs is raised when we join together. Your support amplified the level of excitement we felt at making Finalist status. You were rooting for us, and that support and energy was most definitely felt by everyone throughout our system.

The criteria for determining a National Medal winner includes a recipient organization being an "…outstanding institution that makes significant and exceptional contributions to their communities…[and] have established themselves as community anchor institutions". Although we were not ultimately selected for this honor, the affirmation we received from each of you tells us that we are serving this purpose. Your voicing that belief in us is an inspiration; one that we cherish and look forward to continuing to foster and nurture.

Attaining Finalist status for the National Medal has reminded me of the powerful impact we can have when we share our stories.  In an effort to continue to celebrate and share all of our collective successes, I invite you to view a sampling of the support of our status in the attached video, "Phoenix Public Library – Connecting Phoenix to a World of Possibilities".


On behalf of all of us at Phoenix Public Library, and with tremendous heart felt gratitude, Thank You!


Rita Hamilton
City Librarian

​Your Library Stories

We asked for your library stories and you delivered. Here are just some of the hundreds of stories we received from you, our amazing customers.

Photo of library customer's hand over jewelry beadsShari​

“Phoenix is an extremely diverse city with regard to the income level, ethnicity, education, religion, birthplace, native language, and age of its residents. As a teaching artist I travel to many different venues throughout the Phoenix area, and have visited many libraries. I see parking lots that are almost completely full, and libraries that are filled with patrons. I have seen how the Phoenix libraries serve as community centers by providing interesting, engaging, and even vital opportunities for its diverse population.
I am a professional teaching artist and I present hands-on art workshops to folks of all ages and I really appreciate being supported by the library. I know that there are many other visual and performing artists whose work is also valued and supported.
Recently I was invited by the Phoenix Library system to present an 8-week program to adults aged 55+ at two different libraries. One of the libraries serves people at the high end of the economic and education scale, while the other library serves people at the lower end of the same scales. (In fact, after my class is over they use the room to serve food from the food bank to children in need.) The adults in my classes have been extremely appreciative of being able to attend classes at no cost, and they seem to be enjoying not only the new skills they are learning but the interactions they are having with each other.” -Shari Keith, Lifetime Arts

Photo of library customers the Hedgpeth familyHedgpeth Family

Yucca Library customers, the Hedgpeth family, enjoy going to the library together. Jacob, who is in 5th grade, and Aaron, who is in 4th grade, like to make stuff. Today, this means slime and oh, what fun it is. Tomorrow, this fun family might be exploring something completely different, but they are up to the challenge!

​Michael and CayleePhoto of library customer Caylee

Michael is a longtime Saguaro Library customer from the neighborhood who is now the caregiver for 3-year-old Caylee. His wife is homebound and getting to storytime twice a week is something that benefits the whole family.

Caylee loves both attending Miss Iris’s storytimes and using the kids’ computers. 

Michael feels like the Saguaro Library community is part of his extended family.

Photo of library customer JoJo

Jo self-proclaims she was “NOT a library person.”
When she found herself needing various resources, however, she walked into her neighborhood branch, Palo Verde Library. Jo was floored by the patience with which staff helped her with whatever she needed. Since that day, there was no turning back as she considers the library her “second home.”
She also appreciates that all members of the staff know her so well that even the security guard will tell her if there’s something new in that she might enjoy. 
“I have my kids loving it and I have an 11-year-old and they don’t like anything!”

​Thomas, Bernadette, Emma and TommyPhoto of library customers Thomas, Bernadette, Emma and Tommy

Thomas, Bernadette, Emma and Tommy are Palo Verde Library regulars. In addition to checking out graphic novels and DVDs the family uses the library's Internet computers and likes to put holds on CDs. Since they are often hanging out at the branch, they've had a chance to attend a multitude of programs and say they love the staff because they "help with anything we need." This family loves the library so much, they often bring in materials from home that they are done with and donate them to the Palo Verde Library Friends of the Phoenix Public Library.

​DawnPhoto of library customer Dawn

Dawn considers herself a “regular fixture” at South Mountain Community Library. The warm staff, beautiful building and captivating programs have her coming back again and again. A writer, Dawn takes advantage of the library’s public computers and enjoys being a part of the community that includes the buzzing activity of early literacy programs to the studious vibe from the quiet rooms. She asserts “you wouldn’t know this was a college library” and that SMCL is a “library for everybody.”

Photo of library customers Richard and Marilyn​Richard

Richard attends Saguaro Library’s Lifetime Arts programs to keep his brain active and to “tap into his creative spirit.” Learning to make jewelry accomplishes a lifelong wish for Richard, who always thought he’d be good at it. Now, he enjoys that he’s able to “use stuff that someone might otherwise throw away” and admits that he likes that his new skill “makes people jealous.” When Richard, a true tinkering perfectionist of an artist, completes pieces, he gives them to members of his family. He (and his classmates) knew he was cut out for jewelry-making when he saved a piece of scrap wood from the trash and transformed it quickly into a shark. 

​MichaelPhoto of library customer Michael

Meet Michael, a fixture at South Mountain Community Library. Originally from Michigan, Michael was never a big library goer. However, when he saw the library being built, he was intrigued and walked in before it was even open to the public! A librarian explained the library wasn't quite ready, but invited him back to the ribbon-cutting and he's been a regular since. Michael uses the library across all aspects of his life. A tax consultant, he meets with clients in the small meeting rooms. He searches the shelves for recipes and sometimes uses the quiet rooms to simply get away. A morning person, Michael appreciates that this location opens early.

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