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The Santa Ana Public Library has been awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries for community service.

Santa Ana’s library joins nine other institutions in receiving the honor. The others include the Brooklyn Public Library, Chicago History Museum, and the Madison, Wis. Public Library, will receive the award at a ceremony on June 1 in Washington, D.C.

Despite boosts to its funding from the city in recent years, Santa Ana Public Library still has one of the lowest per capita funding of any library system in Orange County and it serves one of the neediest populations in Orange County.

More than 80 percent of Santa Ana’s population speaks a language other than English, and roughly half speak English less than “very well.” More than 20 percent live below the poverty line and 11.6 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Despite those circumstances, the library is being recognized for its focus on young immigrant families, at-risk youth and mentorship programs.

“When people ask what I call this library, I say, ‘La biblioteca milagrosa,’ which means the miracle making library,” said Parks Director Gerardo Mouet in a city press release. “We customize the little resources we do have to fit our needs and, more importantly, the needs of the community where we are ingrained.”

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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