July 30, 2009

Gates Foundation Grant Will Help Library Upgrade Computers

The Scotland County Memorial Library will receive $3,250, half in 2010 and the other half in 2011 for the purchase of two public access computers over two years through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online Hardware Grant.

This is the third year of the grant program, which awards libraries in selected states across the nation with matching grants for new and updated technology.

"Scotland County Memorial Library will match the foundations grant with $1950," library director, Melissa Schuster, said.

"The grant is awarded to libraries that serve communities with a high level of low income and aging patron computers. Scotland County Memorial Library qualified for the grant because of its demographics and the age of its computers," Schuster said.

The Missouri State Library, Library Development manages grants for libraries in Missouri and will manage the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant as well.

The grant application process began in October 2008 with the eligible libraries, as determined by the foundation's pre-qualification criteria, by entering the library's patron computer inventory into an online database named TechAtlas. Of the libraries that were initially selected for consideration, 75 libraries and library systems received awards for 120 libraries and branches. Funding will provide up to 590 computers for Missouri library patrons.

This year, the Gates Foundation is awarding grants to public libraries in 11 states, including Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The Gates Foundation is awarding a total of $974,350 to Missouri libraries. Missouri libraries are providing a total of $599,650 in matching funds.

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