The Gates Library Initiative began in 1997 with a pilot project in Alabama.
Arkansas was one of six states that was awarded a grant in1998 to provide public access to Internet in all the public libraries in the state. During 1998 and1999 staff from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worked with the Arkansas State Library and Arkansas public library staff members in Arkansas and in Seattle.
By the end of June 1999, 209 Arkansas libraries had Internet connections installed, 50 with dedicated access (high speed connection) as part of the ARKnet/DIS/APSCN consortium and the rest, dial access.
For more information about these cooperative programs with Webjunction, go to www.webjunction.org, select Spanish Language Outreach or Rural & Small
Libraries under Groups in the left hand sidebar.
The U.S. Library Initiative (formerly Gates Library Initiative) Arkansas timeline:
1998 -- First Grant to provide computers, software and Internet connectivity
2000 -- Grant for training library staff
2001 -- Grant for upgrading software
2005 -- Staying Connection/Matching Grant for upgrading computers and Internet connectivity
2006 -- Public Access Computer/Hardware Upgrade Grant PACHUG
2006/2007 -- "Rural Library Sustainability Program is designed to empower small and rural libraries with information, resources, and connections to help meet their unique challenges head on and better manage and sustain their public access computing programs."
"Spanish Language Outreach Program helps equip local library staff with knowledge and resources to reach out to Spanish speakers in their communities and increase their access to technology. The program's workshops provide library staff with information about proven marketing techniques, understanding cultural differences, providing technology training, and partnering with local community organizations serving Spanish speakers"
2010/2011 "Opportunity Online Broadband Grants" program will help Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Virginia upgrade local branches to broadband Internet (a minimum of 1.5 Mbps) so that more people can access opportunity online. These pilot states were selected by the foundation based on the following criteria:
• Low Connectivity Levels: The state has a high number of public libraries with Internet speeds of less than 1.5 Mbps.
• Public Will: Strong public policy support to increase broadband in public libraries exists within the state.
• Awareness and Action: The state library agency has taken steps to increase and sustain quality connectivity in the state and is well‐positioned to manage the pilot grant program.
Contacts / Questions
Debbie Hall, Manager of Grants & Special Project, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Hyatt, Manager of Extension Services email@example.com
Dwain Gordon, Deputy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn Ashcraft, State Librarian email@example.com
Sally Hawkes, Manager of Network Services, firstname.lastname@example.org