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Free library gets $35,000 grant

The Hagerstown Free Library plans to buy 10 new computers with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Hagerstown Free Library plans to buy 10 new computers with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

November 07, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Free Library is planning to buy 10 new computers with a $35,000 private grant it has received, library Executive Director Mary Baykan said Wednesday.

Maryland public libraries received a total of $700,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide them with computers, Internet access and technical training.

Maryland public libraries and branches that have a certain percentage of low-income patrons, as determined by the 1990 U.S. Census, were eligible for the grants.

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The Gates Foundation is helping "bridge the digital divide" between the rich and the poor, Baykan said.

"We are certainly delighted to get that help," Baykan said.

Some of the money will be used to triple the size of a Hancock branch computer lab from two computers to six, she said.

The library's downtown Hagerstown library will get enough money to replace six 4-year-old computers for public use, Baykan said. The downtown library has 10 computers for public use.

The money will also pay for the downtown library to buy a server to connect the computers together, she said.

The grant relieves the library of the problem of having to find funding for new computers, Baykan said.

"Technology is the currency of tomorrow, and it is important that children and adults have access to and training in how to use this currency," Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick said in a news release.

"We are extremely pleased that Maryland has received a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant and understand the pivotal role that librarians have played and will continue to play in ensuring that library patrons of all ages are meaningfully engaged in the digital age."

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