Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Final Round of Grants, Gates Foundation Gives $6.5M To Upgrade Library Computers

Third round of Opportunity Online grants serves 11 states; ; advocacy training required
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 7/20/2009

Third round of hardware grants
Part of $350M in domestic library support
$3.7M local match expected
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its third and final round of Opportunity Online hardware grants, $6.5 million in grants to public libraries in 11 states. While the foundation, which has invested $350 million in domestic library support, did not initially aim to pay for hardware, it has recognized the need to upgrade and add public computer workstations in low-income areas, especially given the increasing demand for Internet access at libraries.

Last year’s round was worth $8.1 million, while the 2007 grants totaled $8.3 million. The remaining 18 U.S. states participated in the foundation’s Public Access Computing Hardware Upgrade Grant program in 2006.

In the current round, nearly 800 library branches in Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin are eligible. The libraries are expected to leverage $3.7 million in local funding.

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