Libraries Go on Learning Curve with Grants to Link Up to the Internet
Midland libraries have received more than pounds 600,000 to help them hook up up to the Internet and join the Prime Minister's planned National Grid for Learning.
The money is part of almost pounds 3 million of grants given out nationwide by the Government yesterday.
The Midlands receives pounds 626,023, with the largest local recipient being Wolverhampton Libraries and Information Services which will get pounds 178,785.
Others to benefit include Birmingham City Council (pounds 151,883); Sandwell Council (pounds 89,610); Staffordshire County Council (pounds 49,900) and Stoke-on-Trent Libraries (pounds 155,845).
The money has come from the Public Libraries Challenge Fund which has awarded grants of between pounds 49,900 and pounds 498,000 to 21 information technology projects in libraries in England.
A key aim of the three-year fund - run by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport - is to connect all public libraries to Mr Tony Blair's proposed educational network of computers by 2002.
Mr John Dolan, head of Birmingham Central Library, welcomed the money which he said would boost opportunities to use the latest technology.
He said: "This is great news for the library service and the people who use it. Computers are being used in everything and people need to be able to gain access to them.
"Information is being passed around in greater volumes and more rapidly than ever before, and it is important that the people of Birmingham have access to them."
Mr Dolan said the money would be spent on networking all the computers in Birmingham's libraries so people across the city could access the technology. …