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Help the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Support Public Libraries

by on December 27, 2012

How can public libraries best serve their communities in a future where e-books and ubiquitous digital content are the norm? How can they best meet the needs of their communities in a time of extraordinary and rapid change? These are questions that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Initiative wants your help in answering via a brief online survey.

As parts of its mission to help all people lead healthy, productive lives, the Gates Foundation, via its U.S. and Global Libraries Initiatives, works to narrow the digital divide in the United States and many developing countries around the world.  Currently, the Foundation funds programs that evaluate local technology needs, purchase equipment, train library staff, and help libraries build public support for long-term funding.  Now the Foundation is looking to the future and seeking input on how it can best support public libraries in ways that foster innovation and accelerate positive and lasting change in libraries throughout the U.S. and around the world.

TeleRead Founder David Rothman offers a few suggestions for areas toward which the Gates Foundation might direct its resources, including buying the rights to copyrighted works such as The Great Gatsby—purportedly Bill Gates’ favorite book—and financing the creation of national digital public and academic library systems.  He expands upon his argument in another piece, arguing in favor of literacy programs and “appropriate hardware for low-income people to use not just libraries but at home, with proper training available.”

So what do you think?  Do you have ideas about how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can best support public libraries in the coming years?  Please take a few moments to complete the survey and inform their future strategy.  Working together, public libraries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have the potential to deeply and positively impact the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world.

Link to source article: http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/help-the-gates-foundation-decide-how-to-spend-money-on-libraries-time-to-free-the-great-gatsby-and-other-classics-and-support-national-digital-library-systems/