Library Log-On Gives Internet Access to All
Byline: Richard Warburton
Libraries across the Midlands are to be linked by a pounds 2 million computer network to improve education facilities in the community.
The multi-million National Lottery grant will provide technology equipment for libraries and community centres to allow every member of the public access to the Internet.
The money, distributed by the New Opportunities Fund (NOF), is the biggest boost to the region's library system for more than a decade.
It is hoped the funding will allow more adult learners get a foot on the first rung of the 'learning ladder' in disadvantaged areas.
Staffordshire library services has been given the biggest grant totalling pounds 1.1 million to set up a 'People's Network' of more than 500 computers.
Members of the public at 43 libraries across the county will be able to use the computers for free from the end of this month.
As well as new PCs, suitable for children and wheelchair users, a variety of specialist software will be introduced to help the visually impaired and hard of hearing.
Coun Jim Muir (Lab Burton Tower), Staffordshire County Council's portfolio holder for Cultural and Recreational Services, said the money will benefit the entire community.
'This new funding will enable the county council to deliver far more in terms of access to electronic information by increasing our network of publicly available PCs,' he said.
'Information Technology can also play a key role in breaking down barriers to learning that people sometimes face, offering them new ways of learning and developing. …