More Kentuckians will have access to free, high-quality computers and the Internet in their local public libraries thanks to a $955,500 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will upgrade 1,525 computers in 116 Kentucky library systems.
Many Kentuckians rely on library computers to do research for school or work, take distance-learning classes, find health information, communicate with family and friends and keep up with current events. In communities with lower incomes, libraries often provide the only Internet access, said James A. Nelson, the state librarian and commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA).
“With the rapid changes in technology we are seeing, this will be a real boost to our libraries and their customers,” said Nelson. “This grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation not only serves libraries, but the citizens of Kentucky.”
The grant will upgrade computers in 116 small to medium-size library systems across Kentucky.
State Library Services Division Director Charlene Davis said, “It is critical that libraries have the resources necessary to sustain basic computer services. We estimated that 597 computers will have to be replaced altogether just to keep up with current technological trends. We’re happy that this grant will not only make the replacements possible, but also provide upgrades for the future.”
The grant is part of the foundation’s U.S. Library Program, which supports the efforts of public libraries to offer free access to computers, the Internet and digital information in communities throughout the United States. For more information about the program, visit www.gatesfoundation.org/Libraries/USLibraryProgram/.
KDLA, an agency of the Education Cabinet, provides grants, technical assistance and direct services to libraries, archival repositories and public agencies throughout Kentucky. In addition, it offers reference, research and specialized information services from Frankfort. For more information about KDLA services, go to www.kdla.ky.gov.
The Education Cabinet coordinates learning programs from P-16, and manages and supports training and employment functions in the Department for Workforce Investment. For more information about our programs, visit www.educationcabinet.ky.gov or call 502-564-6606.