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BCR, Member State Libraries Partner to Administer Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant

Contact: Brandie Baumann, Communications Coordinator
[email protected]; 303.751.6277, ext 110


Aurora, CO, August 25, 2008 -- BCR has been selected to serve as intermediary to administer and manage the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online grants in three states, partnering with the BCR member state library agencies of Alaska, Oregon and Washington. The grant program will help eligible public libraries in each of these states upgrade computer hardware in communities with high concentrations of poverty that are at risk of having outdated technology.

Twenty-eight libraries in Alaska, 106 in Oregon and 87 in Washington have been designated recipients of the grants. Eligible libraries must obtain local funding commitments that demonstrate community support for maintaining computer upgrades.

Librarians participating in the program also are required to attend a professional development conference 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.

This is the second of three rounds of Opportunity Online grants. More than 800 library branches in Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington state are eligible in this round.

The first round of Opportunity Online grants were awarded in October 2007 to Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming. A third round is scheduled for 2009 for libraries in Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. The remaining 18 states are 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 $325 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.

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 or e-mail [email protected].

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, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. More information is available at

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