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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
January 30, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the 2005 National Awards for Museum and Library Service
The East Room


10:18 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Welcome to the White House, and welcome to the celebration of the 2005 National Awards for Museum and Library Service, which is the nation's highest honor for museums and libraries.

I want to recognize Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, who have come here to join their award winner. Thank you all very much. Senator Mark Dayton from Minnesota, Mayor Chris Coleman from St. Paul, Minnesota, who have come to stand with their crowd. Mayor Cathy Finkbeiner, from Toledo, Ohio. Mary Chute -- I'm sorry, Carty Finkbeiner, from Toledo, Ohio. Mary Chute, the Acting Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. All the IMLS board and staff, thank you all for the work you do all year to make sure museums and libraries stay the very center of their communities, like they have been through our history. Bruce Cole, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, thank you so much for coming, Bruce. Also, Dr. Anne Radice, the Acting Assistant Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Bush nominated Dr. Radice to serve as the next director of IMLS. She's waiting on Senate confirmation. (Laughter.) And we look forward to her confirmation. She has a wealth of experience in education, arts and the humanities. Welcome, Anne. Thank you for coming.

As all of you might guess, this is one of my favorite events at the White House. I love to recognize libraries and museums that are serving as models for the rest of our country, that are really a part of the life of each of their communities. And so I'm so thrilled to get to recognize six great cultural institutions, the ones that are the award winners today: COSI Toledo, the Johnson County Library, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Mathews Memorial Library, the Pratt Museum, and the St. Paul Public Library. Each one of these cultural institutions has demonstrated extraordinary service to their communities, and they serve as models for the rest of our country. Congratulations to each one of you.

COSI Toledo is an integral part of the Toledo community. This hands-on science museum offers innovative programs for families and has helped teachers transform the way they present science to their students. One of those teachers is Pauline LoCascio, who has been teaching at Birmingham Elementary School in Toledo for 35 years. Pauline has taught at the museum, organized COSI festivals at her school, and assisted with science and math nights for families at the museum. Over the years, Pauline has won numerous awards, but she says her greatest honor is to have the privilege to touch the lives of so many children.

It's not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Johnson County, Kansas, uses the Johnson County Library. And no wonder. The Johnson County Library makes services available to thousands of institutions, including schools, professional associations, and community organizations.

Denise Upah, while meeting with a business partner at the library, discovered how the library helps entrepreneurs, with meeting rooms, access to business journals, and, most important, access to the research librarian, now on Denise's speed dial. (Laughter.) These days, Denise teaches other business owners how to use the library's extensive resources.

The Levine Museum of the New South has long been a catalyst for civic awareness and involvement in Charlotte -- North Carolina, that is. In 2004, the museum featured a project called Courage: The Carolina Story That Changed America. The project consisted of an exhibit on Brown v. Board of Education; the premiere of a documentary film; and discussions for community leaders.

The Carolina Story that Changed America also changed the life of Brenda Tindal. Brenda worked as the research assistant to the exhibit's creator, Dr. Tom Hanchett. Brenda credits Dr. Tom Hanchett with teaching her that no matter how difficult the truth is, it's her duty as a historian to tell it. And Brenda is now a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Emory University.

Mathews Memorial Library supports a thriving community in rural Mathews County, Virginia. Mathews Memorial offers reading programs and computer training courses for all age groups and proficiency levels. The library also hosts summer programs, music appreciation sessions, and oral history projects.

Mathews Memorial has been invaluable to Chong Degges. Arriving in the United States with just a sixth-grade education, Chong managed to start her own business, which she owned for fourteen years. When she was forced to sell the business because of health issues, Chong knew she had to further her education. She signed up for literacy training at the library. In less than a year, she is well on her way to her GED. And with that diploma in hand, she will begin taking classes at the local community college.

The Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska, has strong ties with its local community. Among many collaborative efforts is a series of videos produced by community members and presented to Pratt's exhibits.

Nick Tanape uses video to document his traditional way of life. Nick traveled the furthest, along with the rest of his party, to be here today. When they left home, the temperature was below zero, snow storms were blowing, and Augustine Volcano was spewing off and on. (Laughter.) But considering that Nick's father spent much of each year hunting and kayaking over a thousand miles in the rough seas of the Gulf of Alaska, Nick is not complaining about his trip to Washington, D.C.

The St. Paul Public Library generates public and private funding to invest in an array of community partnerships. Regina Harris heard about a partnership between the local St. Paul Public Library and a local college to prepare individuals for careers as library para-professionals. Regina applied and was accepted in the first class of the Urban Library Program. She was then hired by the St. Paul Public Library and now is in a Master of Library Science program, so she can make literacy and library administration her career.

These six institutions work for their communities and with their communities, bringing education and opportunity to the people they serve. Congratulations to each one of you, and thanks for all you do.

Now it's my pleasure to introduce the Acting Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Mary Chute. (Applause.)

END 10:26 A.M. EST

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