Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 13

City Library receives $19,000 from Gates Foundation for computer equipment

The Winslow City Library is the recipient of $19,000 dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money is given to expand the availability of public access computing and to provide access to the Internet and digital information through public libraries. The city of WInslow had to agree not to use this money to offset any funding they allotted to the library.

The Gates Foundation gives the money on the basis of need, partnerships and leveraging within each library. The foundation targets libraries serving low-income communities, where the need is greatest and the fewest people have computers and Internet access at home. The Winslow library has already recognized the need for public access and has been trying to provide it. One of the problems has been that people have had to make appointments ahead due to a limited number of terminals.

The foundation wants libraries to establish partnerships in the community with schools, the chamber of commerce and other groups. The library will provide service and also gain benefits from such partnerships. The Winslow library already works with a number of community groups, and school children take advantage of its services.

Leveraging is the process where this grant can be used to encourage others to give grants or income to supplement programs that are already in process. One area would be increased staff support from the city, or a Friends of the Library fund dedicated to maintaining and upgrading library technology. This might also come through local business support.

The city has committed to sustaining the public access to computing capability established by the grant as well as the maintenance and eventual replacement of the equipment provided by the grant.

One of the on-going problems continues to be the size of the library. It has outgrown its building. The Friends of the Library Downtown Redevelopment Committee is working to put a new library, over twice the size of the current facility, on Second Street. There is already a survey being made of the old Babbitt's/ P and H building at Second and Warren. An architect specialized in historical preservation, Jim Woodward, has been hired and has begun work. Eventually a structural engineer will deliver a plan for the necessary reconstruction in a building that has been unoccupied for some time. The Architect says that most of the building is sound, but the back wall will have to be replaced along the alley.

This is a very large project. The fundraising barometer is up on the Second Street wall and several books indicate the number grants and funds the library already has acquired. Look at this small stack of books and see what yo can do to help extend the shelf.

Now, through the generosity of the Gates Foundation, the library will have the equipment to make computers available both in its present location and in the future. There is also a committee forming to help the Friends of the Library set policy for the use of these computers. If you are interested in joining this effort, get in touch with Librarian Irene Best or a member of the library staff.

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