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Gates Library Initiative distributes third round grant applications

15 more states eligible for state partnerships grants

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Carol Rava
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: (206) 709-3100
Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

REDMOND, Wash. -- The Gates Library Initiative today announced that applications for the third round of grants have been distributed to the state library agencies of Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

These states were selected as the next candidates for grants due to their poverty levels as determined by the 1990 U.S. Census. Current applications are due on April 30, 1999. Each state will be evaluated for technological readiness, commitment to sustainability over time and commitment to establishing programs for reaching people who do not otherwise have access to computers and the Internet. Implementation is planned to begin in Fall of the year of 2000.

"We are excited to see real progress being made toward bridging the "digital divide"—the gap between those who have access to the power of technology and those who don't," said Richard Akeroyd, director of library programs for the Gates Learning Foundation. "We have given grants to nearly every library in Alabama and Louisiana and have funding partnerships underway in seventeen states to bring computers, training and Internet access to library patrons in low-income communities. With fifteen new states eligible to apply for grants, we are well on our way of meeting our goal of reaching public libraries in all 50 states by the year 2003."

Through State Partnership Grants, the Foundation provides grants to all eligible public library buildings serving low-income communities to purchase computer and networking equipment and to install telecommunications services for Internet access. The grants also provide training and technical support to selected library staff in network administration, computer and Internet applications, computer systems management, and train-the-trainer models for applications in on-going staff and patron training classes.

To date, the Gates Library Initiative has worked with more than 1300 library systems in the United States to install 6800 PCs and train nearly 3500 librarians.

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