By Melissa Heintz
Public Affairs Specialist, IMLS
In the fields of central Iowa lies the city of Marshalltown. As this city experiences a shift in demographics, with a growing population of Latino and Myanmar immigrants, the Marshalltown Public Library is adapting to these changes. As a community anchor, the library is one of the first places the new immigrants come. There they can find literacy classes, education and training, and youth mentoring programs for Latinos. Veronica Guevara, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, spoke primarily Spanish in her household. She found her place at the Marshalltown Public Library in high school through the VolunTeen volunteer program. Throughout her high school and community college years, the library was her place to grow. She looked to the library for resources and scholarships as she transitioned from the local community college to a university. With the help of the library, she received a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute internship that brought her to Washington, D.C., to work on Capitol Hill.
The Marshalltown Public Library was one of 10 winners of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Do you know of a museum or library that has made a difference? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 National Medal. Nomination forms must be mailed and postmarked by October 15, 2013.