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One Million Dollars for Your Library

Does your library provide "access to information using computers and the Internet free of charge to users"? If so, you may want to apply for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Access to Learning Award, which gives up to US$1 million per awardee. Previous winners include libraries from Nepal, Bangladesh and Guatemala.

Please note that "libraries in resource-poor countries or those working with disadvantaged communities" are encouraged to apply, that the award is given in recognition for "work accomplished, in progress, or completed" (i.e., it is not a grant) and that the deadline is 31 December 2006.

Offhand, I can't think of too many Philippine libraries that will qualify because there aren't too many that allow "all members of the public, from children to senior citizens, to use its facilities free of charge (without membership or Internet fees)." Public libraries that actually use the computers given by the National Library might be able to get around the "no Internet fee" requirement by saying that they charge "electricity fees," but I don't know whether the awards committee will buy that.

But I do think that the National Library's Library for the Blind (which has been allowing the visually impaired to access the Internet), and the Children's Library (which allows even adults to use its facilities free of charge) have a decent chance of getting the award.

Category: Libraries

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