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Yukon receives $298,500 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase access to the Internet in public libraries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Julie Ourom
Manager of Yukon Public Libraries
Phone: 867.667.5447, Email:

WHITEHORSE, Yukon -- Public libraries in the Yukon have received a $298,500 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Education Minister Dale Eftoda announced today.

The grant will provide computers and improved Internet service for the Yukon's 15 public libraries, along with Internet training for the public. Separately, Microsoft Canada has donated software with a retail value of $101,430 to be used in the libraries.

"This gift broadens opportunities for Yukon people in all parts of the territory to use the Internet and to have access to the new information they need and want," said Mr. Eftoda. "It also provides wonderful opportunities for all Yukoners to learn about new technology and pass on what they've learned to others."

The grant will put 44 new computers into Yukon public and community libraries and includes one mobile training lab, which will travel to rural communities. A fixed training lab will be based at the Kwanlin Dun House of Learning.

The training labs have 10 public access computers connected to a unit, which projects images onto a large screen. The labs make learning on computers accessible and fun. People can enjoy a range of programs from "Green Eggs and Ham" for pre-schoolers to the Encarta encyclopedia program for adults.

"The mobile labs are extremely useful tools for training people of all ages," said Mr. Eftoda. "They help us enhance access to the Internet through community libraries across the Yukon."

The grant is a part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Library Program. In a July 1999 study of Internet use by households, Statistics Canada noted that while computer use has increased nationwide, there is a wage gap between those with access to technology and the Internet and those without. Individuals in the highest-income households were nearly five times more likely to use computer communications than those in the lowest-income households. The Foundation's goal is to reduce this gap by providing increased access for all people—regardless of age, income, education or geographic location.

Installation of the new computers in communities throughout the Yukon begins immediately and is expected to be completed by Christmas.

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