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Gates Library Foundation launches grant process to bring computers and Internet access to Canadian libraries

Planning Committee of Canadian library leaders has been formed; grant applications expected to be available in early 1999

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Carol Rava
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: 206.709.3100, Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

MONTREAL, Quebec -- The Gates Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to partnering with USA and Canadian public libraries to bring digital information to the communities they serve, today announced it has launched a Canadian grant program to provide libraries in low-income communities with access to computers, the Internet, and technical training.

"We are committed to closing the gap between those who have access to the information and skills necessary to compete in a rapidly changing world, and those who do not. Our partnership in Canada brings us one step closer to ensuring that everyone—regardless of their age, income, or education—can access knowledge and information," said Bill Gates, founder of the Gates Library Foundation and chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation.

Grants will be used to provide public libraries in low-income communities with the computer hardware required for community access to the Internet, as well as provide support and training for public library personnel throughout Canada. Separately, Microsoft Corporation and Corbis Corporation will donate software.

"Forging ahead with our Canadian partners to ensure that every library patron in Canada has access to knowledge is an important milestone for the Foundation. We look forward to working with our partners to identify communities of need, and to develop a funding plan based on these needs," said Patty Stonesifer, president and chairman of the Gates Library Foundation.

The Foundation also announced the formation of a planning committee made up of a representative group of library leaders in Canada. The planning committee will work with GLF to determine the application process, eligibility criteria, and to identify the number of libraries eligible to apply for grants. Based on this information, the Foundation will determine the financial commitment needed to ensure that library patrons in low-income communities in Canada would have access to the wealth of information found on the Internet.

"Through the Gates Library Foundation, public libraries across Canada will now have wonderful new tools to bring additional services to patrons in our neediest communities," said Harry T. Holman, Chair of the Provincial & Territorial Library Directors Conference. "We are especially delighted that this opportunity will be made available to libraries of all sizes, and we are looking forward to working with the Gates Library Foundation in order to have the maximum benefit of the donation in areas where the greatest needs exists."

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