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Global Libraries

Access to Learning Award (ATLA)




For 15 years, the foundation has granted the Access to Learning Award (ATLA) to highlight the innovative ways libraries and similar organizations around the world provide services to people, and to promote the development and replication of new ways to increase public access to information technology. To date, we have awarded $13.5 million to 16 library and nonprofit organizations in 15 countries.

We are extremely proud of our ATLA recipients and the creative ways they have increased and expanded public access to technology to help people improve their lives.  However, Global Libraries did a thorough review of the award and decided earlier this year to discontinue the ATLA program.

As you might know, in May 2014, the foundation decided to conclude our work in Global Libraries over the next three to five years. While libraries will continue to change and evolve, we’re confident the legacy of our investments, including those made through ATLA, will help ensure the global libraries field continues to provide opportunities for access for library users around the world.

The transition of Global Libraries was not part of the decision to discontinue ATLA.

Global Libraries announced the final ATLA winner at the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Congress in Lyon, France on August 18, 2014. 

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Award Recipients

2014: e-Library Nenasala Program of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s e-Library Nenasala Program is a government-run initiative to increase digital literacy and access to technology among the nation’s poorest residents living in remote rural areas. Mostly located in houses of worship and public libraries, the Nenasalas offer instruction in basic computer skills, guidance on accessing information through the Internet, and a wide variety of locally relevant knowledge to help people increase their incomes and improve their lives.
Watch the Slideshow 

2013: Acessa Sao Paulo, Brazil
Acessa Sao Paolo is a groundbreaking program that brings high-tech tools, information, and knowledge to millions of people in Brazil’s most populous state. Designed to serve those who have no other access to computers and the Internet, Acessa gives people the opportunity to transform their lives.
Watch the Slideshow 

2012: Community Technology Centers, Dominican Republic 
The Dominican Republic has created a comprehensive network of Community Technology Centers designed to provide free access to high-tech tools and training so people have the knowledge and skills they need to find employment, start and run their own businesses, improve their health, and better their lives. 
Watch the Slideshow

2011: Arid Lands Information Network, Eastern Africa
The Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) has created 12 Maarifa—or Knowledge—Centers in the most hard-to-reach regions of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania so that these people have the tools they need to improve their health, increase their incomes, and better their lives. 
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2010: Veria Central Public Library, Greece
Making creative use of information and technology services, Veria offers a range of programs that meet the economic, educational, and cultural needs of more than 180,000 people.
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2009: Fundación Empresas Públicas de Medellín, Colombia
In a city once fractured by violence, libraries are bringing people together as a community with access to information and technology, educational programs, cultural offerings—and of course, books—in every corner of the city.
Watch the Slideshow 

2008: Vasconcelos Program 
Vasconcelos, an innovative mobile technology program, provides computer access and training to remote, indigenous communities in Mexico's Veracruz state. 

2007: Northern Territory Library, Australia
In extremely remote, underprivileged communities, an innovative technological solution that helps preserve culture is drawing Indigenous Australians into local libraries. 

2006: Rural Education and Development (READ), Nepal
READ Nepal works with villages to build self-supporting libraries (funded through community projects) that provide free access to computers and the Internet, books, multimedia tools, and more. 

2005: Bangladesh's Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha converts indigenous boats into mobile libraries that provide free computer and Internet stations and training to agricultural communities in a northern watershed.

2004: Denmark's Aarhus Public Libraries
2004: China Evergreen Rural Library Service Center

Two organizations were honored in 2004 for providing free computer and Internet services to immigrants and refugees in Denmark and to townspeople in remote areas of China. 

2003: Smart Cape Access Project
Smart Cape Access Project installed computers and Internet access in public libraries in disadvantaged areas of Cape Town to give residents free access for the first time in South Africa. 

2002: BibloRed
BibloRed is a network of 19 public libraries in Bogotá, Colombia that offers free access to computers and the Internet in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. 

2001: Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala (Probigua) and Argentina's Biblioteca del Congreso
Two organizations were honored in 2001 for providing free computer and Internet services to rural communities in Guatemala and to millions of urban dwellers in Buenos Aires. 

2000: Helsinki City Library
Helsinki City Library in Finland was among the world's first libraries to offer Internet access to the public, which includes many low-income residents and refugees.

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