Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is applauding the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for providing Opportunity Online Hardware Grants that will allow 128 Illinois public libraries to upgrade and buy new computers.
White said the Opportunity Online Hardware Grant Program is designed to build the sustainability of free computer and Internet access at public libraries. The program focuses on libraries that are not yet able to adequately serve their patron’s technology needs and are also serving high-poverty communities with limited access to computers and the Internet. 128 public libraries were deemed eligible by the Gates Foundation to receive funds through the grant program, based on economic need and aging computers. The Illinois State Library will administer funding to the participating libraries.
The program requires a local funding match of 25 to 50 per cent over a two-year period. The local match is designed to provide an incentive for libraries to engage the community to raise funds and communicate the value of technology in libraries. The program also seeks to motivate local governments to commit long-term local funding to computer services in public libraries.
View a list of the IL libraries that will be receiving grants.