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Bill and Melinda Gates announce Gates Library Foundation 1998 grant recipients

First round of funding to reach over 1000 libraries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Carol Rava
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: 206.709.3100

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Bill and Melinda Gates announced today that more than 1,000 U. S. libraries will benefit from the 1998 first round of Gates Library Foundation grants. The grants, representing more than $20 million for computers, technical assistance, and training, will give public library patrons access to computers and the Internet. In addition, Microsoft will be donating software to grant recipients with a total estimated retail value of $13 million.

The announcement was made in Alabama today by the Gates as they toured libraries in three cities to see firsthand the impact computers and Internet access can have on rural and urban communities. As the Foundation's first state partner, Alabama is nearing completion of a rollout that will eventually reach 95 percent of Alabama's libraries with new computer hardware, software, technical support and training.

"Today, Melinda and I have seen for ourselves that public libraries are leading the way to technology, information access, and literacy in Alabama's neediest communities," said Foundation co-founder and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. "It's our dream that if you can reach a public library in Alabama, you can reach the Internet."

"The excitement we're feeling in Alabama reinforces our belief that everyone in the community has a role to play keeping our public libraries dynamic and healthy," said Melinda Gates. "From the volunteers at the library in Selma helping adult students get their GED certificates, to the kids in Demopolis teaching their parents how to use a computer, this effort takes all of us."

Grants announced today fell into three categories: Statewide Library Partnerships, Urban Library Leadership, and Opportunity grants. Applicants had to demonstrate need based on local and regional poverty levels, and ability to sustain the computer centers.

In this initial round of funding, the Gates Library Foundation will:
  • Reach more than 1,000 individual libraries.

  • Train more than 12,000 librarians with technical and practical training.

  • Partner with libraries in 29 states and 57 cities.

  • Install more than 5,000 individual

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