Monday, August 24, 2009

South Sioux City Public Library Eligible for Grant to Improve Free Computer and Internet Services for Community Residents


South Sioux City Public Library Eligible for Grant to Improve Free Computer and Internet Services for Community Residents
South Sioux City Must Raise $9,750.00 to Secure Funding

South Sioux City, Nebraska – South Sioux City Public Library is eligible for a $26,000.00 Opportunity Online hardware grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help provide free, high-quality access to computer workstations for South Sioux City. The two-year Opportunity Online hardware grants program will provide funding to replace, and in some cases add, public computer workstations in libraries, as well as for associated training and tech support. The program is focused on helping libraries serving populations most in need and which are vulnerable to having their technology services become obsolete. Eligible libraries must obtain local funding commitments that demonstrate community support for maintaining computer upgrades.

Despite the fact that most libraries (73 percent) are typically the only provider of free Internet access in their communities, many do not have adequate funding to maintain quality computer and Internet services, and to meet growing community demand for these technology tools. And with millions of Americans using computers and the Internet at public libraries to earn long-distance learning degrees, start and advance small businesses, find critical health information or jobs, learn English, get e-government information, and more, libraries are a critical link to technology for many who cannot afford the service on their own. The South Sioux City Public Library serves a diverse community with the single thing in common that each member of the community needs the most up to date information from the community’s public access computers, located in the library.

“Computer and Internet access have become essential services that our patrons demand,” said Library Director, Dave Mixdorf. “It is critical that we have the resources necessary to properly maintain these technology tools so that our library can help all people in South Sioux City and Dakota County, Nebraska access the information they need to thrive and contribute fully to our community.”

While nearly 100 percent of U.S. public libraries now offer free computer and Internet services, many struggle to maintain them as budget cuts are causing libraries to reduce operating hours, limit access to staff training and technical support, and make it difficult to keep pace with new technologies.

“It is virtually impossible to succeed today without access to computers and the Internet,” said Jill Nishi, program manager of the foundation’s U.S. Libraries initiative. “Fast, reliable, online access can open a world of economic, educational, and social opportunities. It is imperative that all communities acknowledge the role our libraries play in providing this service and give libraries the support they need to continue providing critical technology tools long into the future.”

Opportunity Online hardware grants are expected to be the last grants given by the foundation to fund computer upgrades in U.S. public libraries with vulnerable technology, but the foundation continues to support libraries through investments in Internet connectivity, research, training, and advocacy.

The Director, staff and board are currently working together to raise matching funds for this generous grant. If you would like to know how to help support this matching grant, contact Library Director, Dave Mixdorf at 402-494-7545 to find out how you may best help support this project.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

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