Bill, Melinda Gates Give $809,000 Gift to Libraries

Department of Education (to March 26, 2013)

November 16, 1999 12:30 PM

Fifty-six of Nova Scotia's public libraries will soon have more
computers and increased Internet access thanks to an $809,000
gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Education
Minister Jane Purves announced today. Separately, Microsoft
Canada will donate software with a retail value of $327,000 to
the libraries receiving grants.

The grant, part of the Gates Library Initiative, is intended to
increase technology access for people who would otherwise not
have access to computers and the Internet.

"On behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, I want to thank Bill and
Melinda Gates for their generosity," said Ms. Purves. "The Gates
Library Initiative will provide more access to technology and the
Internet, particularly to those who need access the most."

The partnership between Nova Scotia and the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation began in October of 1998 with the launch of the
Canadian grant program. Public libraries in many Nova Scotia
communities are eligible to receive grants to purchase computer
hardware and technology training for library staff.

The grant will provide funding for 114 Internet workstations and
the establishment of four regional training centres at libraries
in Yarmouth, Halifax, Truro and Sydney starting in the spring of
2000. Staff training and technical support are also included.

According to a July 1999 Statistics Canada study, individuals in
the highest-income households are nearly five times more likely
to regularly access the Internet than those in the lowest-income
households. The goal of the Gates Initiative is to partner with
provincial, territorial and state public libraries to provide
access to technology for everyone.

"Our public libraries play an important role in educating people
of all ages," said Ms. Purves. "This gift, combined with our
ongoing initiative of providing public and student access to the
Internet, will give more Nova Scotians the tools they need to
gain knowledge and find jobs in the growing information economy."

In both the United States and Canada, grants from the foundation
are targeted toward libraries that serve low-income communities.
Canadian libraries serving populations where 17.6 per cent or
more of the population live in poverty are eligible for
foundation grants. Figures were determined by the Poverty Profile
1996 report issued by the National Council of Welfare.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation places a major focus on
helping to improve people's lives through global health and
learning. Since the inception of the Gates Library Initiative in
1997, the foundation has awarded grants of more than $35 million
to 2,200 libraries in the United States and Canada. For more
information, see www.gatesfoundation.org .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Bill and Melinda Gates are giving a major gift to Nova

Scotia's public libraries.

     The Gates Foundation is giving 56 libraries in the province

809-thousand dollars.

     The money is from the Gates Library Initiative.

     It will be used to put more computers and increased Internet

access into libraries, especially in low-income communities.

     Education Minister Jane Purves says the grant will provide

access to technology and the Internet to those who need it the

most.

     The money will pay for 114 Internet workstations and four

regional training centres at libraries in Yarmouth, Halifax,

Truro and Sydney starting next spring.

     Microsoft Canada will donate another 300-thousand dollars to

the libraries.

-30-

Contact: Dan Davis
         Department of Education
         902-424-3999
         E-mail: davisds@gov.ns.ca






kjd                      November 16, 1999