May 5, 2000
The Oceanside Public Library has been awarded $96,578 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide training and buy computer equipment for three of its agencies. The funds come from a $22 million Gates Learning Foundation grant awarded to California State Library on behalf of California libraries in June 1999, as part of the foundation's effort to help close the "digital divide" by funding computer purchases for libraries serving less affluent populations.
Oceanside Public Library Director Jose Aponté said the money will be used to put a computer training lab consisting of 10 computers connected on an intranet in the new Mission Branch Library, and 6 computers each in the Community Computer Center and the main library in the City Civic Center complex. Aponté said an easy measure of the success of our technology efforts can be had by counting the variety and number of recent immigrants using the library Internet facilities daily to stay in touch with their families in Europe and Latin America. The 10-terminal computer lab at Mission Branch, will help seniors and children learn to navigate the Internet and access the broad confines of the information superhighway, he said. Additionally, the lab will be used to teach computer skills to participants in the library's seminal Inform-até Spanish language computer training program.
Aponté went on to say "Oceanside Public Library was among the first libraries in California to get a grant from the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has laid the ground work to institutionalize the very real linkage between our communities and the global technological revolution taking place today, by using the traditional of library as the doorway to that access." He added "the Gates' family are continuing the tradition of library philanthropy first established by Andrew Carn-egie steel manufacturer at the turn of the century." Andrew Carnegie is considered by many largely responsible for the spread of public libraries as an institution of self-education for working people after establishing over 2,500 public libraries throughout the nation around the turn of the last century.
The grants will purchase NS-7200 computers packaged with memory and speed, and special software including: productivity software such as Microsoft Office 2000, Publisher, and Front Page; reference titles such as Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, Streets & Trips, World Atlas 2000, Corbis FDR, Corbis Leonardo da Vinci, and Encarta Africana 2000, and for children Arthur's Brainteasers, Barney Goes to the Circus, Big Science Ideas, The Cat in the Hat, and Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest. The computers can be configured to specific uses, or profiles, and offer a Spanish language interface.