Chicago Public Library receives national award from the White House

Chicago Public Library was awarded with the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service at the White House (WLS)
May 8, 2014 4:21:17 PM PDT
After a brief demonstration of hometown pride, First Lady Michelle Obama awarded Library Commissioner Brian Bannon the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service at the White House Thursday.

Chicago Public Library is one of ten institutions to receive this award. It's an honor for the same 80-library system that only three years ago reduced its hours because of budget cuts.

"Those cuts that were experienced in 2011 have all been removed," Bannon said. "So all the hours are back, services have been enhanced."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel credited Bannon's management, calling city libraries innovative and more helpful than ever to young Chicagoans.

"You can go online anytime from any computer and get homework help from kindergarten to calculus," Emanuel said.

"We're depending on young people to set big goals for themselves," the First Lady said.

Chicagoan Chris Force, who used the library to start his own publishing business, was also present at the ceremony.

"We just walked by the Oval Office and I thought, 'This is all a dream,' and who thought this is all because of a library card," Force, of Alarm Press, said.

ABC7 also asked Emanuel about Chicago's bid to locate the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.

"I'm leaving little stickies all over the White House: 'Chicago Library, Obama Library, no-brainer...'" Emanuel said.

Emanuel said he still wants lawmakers in Springfield to approve $100 million as seed money for the presidential archives, despite a recent poll suggesting 67 percent of Illinois voters don't think the state can afford it.

"I am supporting it and it's better to be honest with people where you are rather than blow with the wind," Emanuel said.