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      Peter White Public Library nationally recognized

      The odds were slim.

      Out of 123,000 libraries, this was one of the five picked; you know, that's in the 100th of one percentile, said Marquette Mayor John Kivela. So what a great day for Marquette."

      But the Peter White Public Library of Marquette was one of five in the nation to receive the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

      "Of the five libraries selected, we are the smallest, said Library Director Pam Christensen. And we have the smallest budget; we have the smallest service area."

      Marquette Mayor John Kivela says shocked wasn't the right word to describe his reaction.

      Back when it was renovated...(it) really put Marquette on the map and made us a community that people want to live at, Kivela said. And a strong library goes into most of the awards that the city has received in the last few years."

      The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service honors outstanding institutions that make exceptional contributions to their communities. And that's exactly why Christensen says the library won.

      I think a lot of it was that they felt that the library played a very important role in the community, and a lot of that was because of our partnership with the city of Marquette, the Marquette Arts and Culture Center and the nine surrounding townships that we serve, Christensen said.

      As part of the recognition, the library is also being awarded $10,000. And early next year, Christensen will fly to Washington to receive the official award from First Lady Michelle Obama.

      As for right now, Christensen says the library does not know how they will specifically use the funds but is scheduled to have a plan in place by next February.