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Access to Learning Award Recognizes Commitment to Providing Free Access to Information

Council on Library and Information Resources selected to administer Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's international library award

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has been selected to administer the annual Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award, an international award given to a library, library agency or comparable organization for efforts to expand free public access to information, computers and the Internet for all people.
 
"Computers and the Internet have become fundamental learning tools, and libraries offer an ideal venue to provide access to this technology to all citizens," said Deanna Marcum, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources. "As a long-standing member of the library community, CLIR is thrilled to administer an award that recognizes and encourages innovation in this area."
 
"We are pleased that CLIR will be our partner in granting this award," said Richard Akeroyd, executive director of the foundation's library program. "We believe that with their help more international libraries will be aware of the award and will be motivated to submit applications."
 
The Access to Learning Award includes a grant of up to $1 million. Applicants will be reviewed by an international advisory committee of library and information technology experts who will consider the applicants' efforts to make technology freely accessible to the public, train the public in using technology, educate staff on technology use and reach out to disadvantaged communities. Only organizations outside the United States are eligible for consideration.
 
The 2002 Access to Learning Award marks the third time the award has been given. The 2001 Access to Learning Award recipients were Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala (Probigua) and the Biblioteca del Congreso de la Nación Argentina for their efforts to expand free access to technology. The first award was given in 2000 to the Helsinki City Library in Finland.  The library was among the first public libraries in the world to offer Internet access to the public.
 
The award will be announced and presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) meeting in Glasgow in August 2002. A detailed, written case study of the award recipient's work will be published in print and online by CLIR.
 
More information and applications will be available January 15 at www.clir.org.
 
The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good. In partnership with other organizations, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of "library" and supports the providers and preservers of information.  Through projects, programs, and publications, CLIR works to maintain and improve access to information for generations to come both in the United States and around the world.

On the Internet:
Council on Library and Information Resources, www.clir.org

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