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BCR Partners with North Dakota, Hawaii to Administer Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online Hardware Grants

Aurora, CO, July 27, 2009 — BCR is partnering with the North Dakota State Library and the Hawaii State Public Library System to administer the third and final round of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online Hardware Grants program. The grant program will help eligible public libraries in these states upgrade and add public computer workstations for patrons in communities with high concentrations of poverty and where a library’s public computers are at risk of becoming outdated with limited capacity for users.

BCR is administering the grant funds for the North Dakota State Library and also is serving as fiduciary agent for the Hawaii State Public Library System.

In its role as administrator for the North Dakota State Library, BCR will be working with 26 public libraries in the state, helping them secure sustained local funding for computer replacements and upgrades. With 80 percent of library funding originating with local sources, libraries eligible for the Opportunity Online hardware grant program are required to match the foundation funds with local dollars to show they can sustain investments in technology access in the future.

Library staff who are participating in the program also are required to attend Turning the Page: Building Your Library Community, a professional development conference offered by the Public Library Association that is focused on advocacy, to help them build the skills and confidence they need to raise awareness about the value of their libraries and increase local support.

The foundation has awarded grants to libraries in 32 states, including Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The remaining 18 states were not eligible for Opportunity Online hardware grants due to their participation in the foundation’s Public Access Computing Hardware Upgrade Grant program in 2006.

To date the foundation has invested $350 million in grants and other support to install and sustain computers in libraries and train thousands of library staff in all 50 states and U.S territories. 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.

About BCR
BCR brings libraries together for greater success by expanding their knowledge, reach and power. They offer a broad range of solutions and their hands-on, personal attention to each member enables them to deliver effective and timely solutions that help libraries keep pace with new developments in technology and services. BCR is the nation’s oldest and most established multistate library cooperative. Since 1935, the BCR team has helped libraries learn new skills, reach patrons, increase productivity and save money. BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Aurora, Colorado. For more information, visit www.BCR.org or e-mail [email protected].

About the Bill & 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.

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