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Microsoft Announces Program to Bring 41 Libraries Online

Magazine article Information Today

Microsoft Announces Program to Bring 41 Libraries Online

Article excerpt

Microsoft has announced the launch of Libraries Online!, a $10.5 million philanthropic initiative to help library systems in rural and urban communities nationwide provide public access to the Internet and multimedia personal computers. The program seeks to bring the benefits of technology to underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.

Based on the success of its pilot program begun last year in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), Microsoft is contributing financial and technical assistance and software to a total of 41 library systems in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the number of communities served to 215. ALA will continue to administer the program.

Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Brooklyn Borough president Howard Golden, and Brooklyn Public Library executive director Martin Gomez announced recently that a public/private partnership will enable Brooklyn to "enter the 21 st century with all 60 library branches connected to each other and to the Internet." The mayor, New York City council, and the borough of Brooklyn will contribute a total of nearly $5.5 million to maximize Microsoft's contribution of $2.2 million in cash, software, and technical assistance to Brooklyn, the nation's fifth largest library system.

"Through Libraries Online!, we have seen children, parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, and entire communities gain access to a world of technology and information that simply was unavailable to them before," Gates said. "[The national launch of this program] builds on our vision of information at your fingers by empowering people with access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. Libraries will play a pivotal role as we enter the 2 I st century in providing access to knowledge and opportunities for everyone."

Library systems receiving grants this year from Microsoft include Queens Borough Public Library (New York), Elizabeth Public Library (Elizabeth, New Jersey), Boston Public Library, MiamiDade County Public Library, Chicago Public Library, San Francisco Public Library, Kansas City Public Library (Kansas City, Missouri), St. Louis Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Minneapolis Public Library, San Antonio Public Library, Connecticut State Library, Oakland Public Library, Phoenix Public Library, St. Paul Public Library (St. Paul, Minnesota), Hartford Public Library, Macon County Public Library (Tuskeegee, Alabama), King County Library System (Bellevue, Washington), Central Arkansas Library System (Little Rock, Arkansas), Wicomico County Public Library (Eastern Maryland), Nebraska Library Commission, Cherokee Tribal Library (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), Multnomah County Library (Portland, Oregon), York County Library System of Pennsylvania, Richland County Public Library (Columbia, South Carolina), Memphis-Shelby County Public Library (Memphis, Tennessee), Utah State Library, Nisqually Tribal Library (Olympia, Washington), and Timberland Regional Library (Southwestern Washington).

Microsoft is also building on its initial $4.4 million pilot project by providing additional funding to the nine original participating library systems to expand their programs. These nine systems are: Brooklyn Public Library, Baltimore County Public Library, CharlotteMecklenberg County Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, Mississippi Library Commission, Pend Oreille County Public Library (Eastern Washington), Seattle Public Library, South Dakota State Library, and the Tucson-Pima County Library. …

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