First lady: Libraries, museums are 'necessities,' not extras

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WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama says America's libraries and museums aren't luxuries or "extras" that can be passed over while money goes toward other goals like creating jobs or teaching children.

"So often our libraries and museums are doing the critical work to help us achieve those goals in the first place," Mrs. Obama said Monday at an East Room ceremony honoring 10 institutions from across the country for service to their communities.

She said the recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service were preparing young people for college, helping entrepreneurs build their businesses and aiding veterans as they look for civilian work.

"Whether you're bringing virtual classes in STEM education to remote areas and inner-city communities, or teaching our children about their Native American and African-American heritage, so many of you are working to close the heartbreaking opportunity gaps that limit the horizons of too many people in this country," Mrs. Obama said.

The 2015 awards went to:

— Amazement Square, Lynchburg, Virginia

—Cecil County Public Library, Cecil County, Maryland

—Craig Public Library, Craig, Alaska

—Embudo Valley Library and Community Center, Dixon, New Mexico

—Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles

—Louisiana Children's Museum, New Orleans

—Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona

—New York Hall of Science, New York City

—The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City

— The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, California

The awards are given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

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