Kuskokwim Consortium Library receives national medal

May 23, 2023

May 23, 2023

The Kuskokwim Consortium Library in Bethel, Alaska, has received the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, an honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency, has presented the award annually for the past 29 years. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums.

“Kuskokwim has made itself the center of the community in a way that most larger library systems would have a hard time matching,” IMLS Director Crosby Kemper said.

The Kuskokwim Consortium Library is a small public and academic library that serves the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus and the community of Bethel. The library is located on the Indigenous and traditional lands of the Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples in southwestern Alaska.

Selected from 30 national finalists, the eight 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners represent institutions that provide dynamic programming and services that exceed expected levels of service. Through their community outreach, these institutions bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive. 

“Bethel, Alaska, is in a very remote and underserved part of the country,” said Kuskokwim Consortium Library Director Theresa Quiner. “Bethel needs the same level of library services as much larger communities, despite our limited resources. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Kuskokwim Campus are committed to providing high-quality library and educational services, which remain crucial to our students’ success and vital to the community we serve.”

Kuskokwim Campus Director Carolyn Goolsby said UAF is proud of the library staff.

“I was a librarian and library director for nearly 30 years and was a finalist for this award more than once, but it took working with the incredible librarians and staff at KCL to be a part of a national medal win,” Goolsby said. “What they do with the staff and funding they have in a challenging environment here in rural Alaska is amazing.”

The award will be presented at a ceremony this summer in Washington, D.C. For a complete list of 2023 recipients and to learn more about the medal winners, visit the IMLS website.