UMSI Alum Accepts White House Award for Museum and Library Service

Left to right:  John F. Szabo, Community Member Sergio Sanchez, Mrs. Obama.

The Los Angeles Public Library, led by City Librarian John F. Szabo (MILS ’92), was awarded this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award was presented during a White House ceremony by First Lady Michelle Obama and Maura Marx, acting director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

The Los Angeles Public Library was selected for its success in meeting the needs of Angelenos and providing a level of social, educational and cultural services unmatched by any other public institutions in the city. The award recognizes the library’s programs that help people on their path to citizenship, earn their high school diploma, manage personal finances and access health and well-being services and resources.

Szabo, who accepted the award on behalf of the library, said, “We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious award from Michelle Obama and to be recognized by IMLS for the library’s success in empowering our diverse communities and delivering services that help all residents of Los Angeles reach their goals.”

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the nation’s highest honor given each year to five libraries and five museums for service to their communities. For 21 years, the award has celebrated institutions that present extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service to make a difference for individuals, families and communities.

The Los Angeles Public Library serves over four million people—the largest population of any public library in the United States. Szabo oversees the Central Library, 72 branches and the library’s $143 million budget. Under Szabo’s leadership, the library’s reach has expanded into the city’s diverse communities through partnerships with several community-based organizations. 

In 2010, John Szabo received the School of Information's Alumni Achievement Award. At the time, he was the director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System in Georgia.

posted on may 21, 2015