Ameritech Donates $2 Million to the Library of Congress

By Miller, Kathy | Computers in Libraries, June 1996 | Go to article overview

Ameritech Donates $2 Million to the Library of Congress


Miller, Kathy, Computers in Libraries


Ameritech Corporation announced a huge financial contribution to the National Digital Library program at a gala event in The Great Hall of the Library of Congress on April 18. Ameritech and its Ameritech Library Services subsidiary will donate $2 million to establish the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition.

The Library of Congress' (LC) goal for its National Digital Library (NDL) program is to gather and digitize 5 million pieces of American history by the year 2000, making these collections available to countless people through the Internet. Ameritech's contribution will help LC meet that goal by providing funds to libraries (and other institutions) to aid them in the expensive task of digitizing their materials.

Digital Dignitaries in Attendance

At the invitation-only reception, the announcement was publicized and celebrated by many distinguished guests. Speakers included James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, Richard C. Notebaert, chairman and CEO of Ameritech; and Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House.

In accepting the gift, Billington acknowledged that it will bring LC "significantly closer to the goal" of 5 million items being online by 2000. This gift is the first that will provide NDL funds to organizations outside LC, where the digitizing has been concentrated so far.

In his turn at the podium, Gingrich called LC "absolutely one of the greatest treasures in the American system." He stressed the need for its collections to be available to as many people as possible, not just to those who physically visit the nation's capital. He is billing the NDL program as the library for all Americans. …

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