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Gates Library Initiative Forms Advisory Group for U.S. Programs

Advisory group of national library leaders will collaborate with GLI staff to bridge the "digital divide"

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Susan Durgan
Gates Learning Foundation
Phone: (206) 224-4340

REDMOND, Washington -- The Gates Library Initiative (GLI) today announced the formation of an Advisory Group to provide counsel to the Initiative on its programs within the United States. The U.S. Programs Advisory Group, made up of nationally respected library leaders, will be responsible for providing GLI with advice and feedback on grant activities and program direction.

Our Advisory Group partners have spent their careers in the library community working to bring access to knowledge to all people, and collectively have a wealth of information and ideas on how we can best meet our Foundation mission within the U.S.," said Richard Akeroyd, executive director of the Gates Library Initiative. "To effectively bridge the "digital divide" – the gap between those who have access to the power of technology and the Internet and those who don't—we need to link arms with partners who share our same vision."

Members of the Advisory Group were chosen for their experience in library services, national leadership, and effective outreach to their community. Advisory Group members include: John Christensen, former Minnesota Librarian of the Year and the current Executive Director of the Traverse des Sioux Library System serving 40 public libraries and branches in the nine-county area of south central Minnesota.

Ginnie Cooper, past President of the Public Library Association, a member of the governing council of the American Library Association, and the current director of libraries for the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon.

Ken Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian and former Director of Libraries for the New Hampshire State Library.

Luis Herrera, Director of the Information Services Department for the City of Pasadena, a member of the American Library Association council, and past president of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library Service to the Spanish Speaking.

Deborah Jacobs, City Librarian of the Seattle Public Library, former Library Services Manager of the Corvallis-Benton, Oregon County Public Library System, and Library Journal's Librarian of the Year in 1994.

Sara Parker, Missouri State Librarian, former Commissioner of Libraries and Deputy Secretary of Education in Pennsylvania, Montana State Librarian and past President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA).

Martin Gomez, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, member of the American Library Association Executive Board, and member of the New York State Regents Commission on Library Services.

The Gates Library Initiative began in 1997, and is dedicated to partnering with public libraries to bring computers, Internet access and technical training to library patrons in low-income communities in the United States and Canada. The Gates Library Initiative is the cornerstone of the Gates Learning Foundation, which was recently renamed to reflect the foundation's broadened support for new global initiatives that bridge the gap between those who have access to the power of technology and the Internet and those who don't.

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