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James Billington was among the twenty-four presented with the second highest civilian honor in the US.
For more than two decades, Dr. James H. Billington has overseen the largest library in the world and our Nation’s oldest Federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress. A champion of interactive and innovative technology, he has helped connect countless individuals with resources to help them learn about defining moments in the life of our Nation. The United States honors James H. Billington for his stewardship of the Library of Congress and his dedication to strengthening the cultural life of our Nation.
Also honroed Dr. Forest Bird, who invented the ventilator for patients unable to breathe on their own, Wendy Kopp who was instrumental in develping educational programs to reach disadvanted youth, Rev. John Foley SJ of Chicago for his work in education, and Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Our nation is fortunate to be able to count such outstanding individuals - persons who strive to improve the lives of their fellow citizens- among those who through the gifts our Democracy affords may work for the betterment of all. The honor bestowed upon the Librarian of Congress, and the Director of IMLS reinforce just how important libraries are to all Americans.