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The Wilmington Public Library was honored with a prestigious award

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The Wilmington Public Library is one of the 2022 winners of the National Medal of Museum and Library Service, chosen as one of the 3 libraries out of 15 finalists to receive the reward.

The medal is the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums, rewarding the institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

Carl Shaw is the Manager of Community Engagement and Programs for the Wilmington Public Library. He says one of the reasons he believes the Wilmington Library won the award is because of the way they continue to adapt to the changing needs of the community.

“Because information is happening so quickly, and because information is readily available, the best way we saw fit to provide this inspiration is through experience,” explained Shaw. “So instead of reading a book on Angela Davis, or reading a book on LeVar Burton’s story, why not have him come to the library and share his story firsthand.” 

Echoing Shaw, the Wilmington Public Library’s work to understand the needs of the community and adapt accordingly has brought influential figures such as Angela Davis to Wilmington as speakers, allowing Delawareans to learn about history and culture directly from the source.

Library Director Jamar Rahming says that Wilmington is often viewed in a very one dimensional way- as a city inundated with crime and violence. He hopes this award helps change that perception.

“We are a cosmopolitan city with great people- people who have pride in their city, people who love their city. And we are a city that has one of the best libraries in the country,” said Rahming. “So I think that what our award symbolizes is… you know it helps offer a more veracious perspective in the narrative that is out there about the City of Wilmington.”

Looking forward, several summer programs are already underway, like Summer Story Time at Rodney Square.

During the pandemic, the library offered a variety of events including drive-thru movies and outdoor sip-and-paint nights, and this summer they plan to launch more programming on a rolling basis to meet community needs.

Both Shaw and Rahming note that Wilmington Public Library is more than just a place of learning, it’s also a hub for the community to engage and interact.

A calendar of events and programming can be found on their website at

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.