St. Mary's Libraries Receive $18,200 Grant from Gates Foundation for Computers - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's Libraries Receive $18,200 Grant from Gates Foundation for Computers


Grant Requires $10,400 in local matching funds

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. (Dec. 11, 2007)—St. Mary's County Library Director Kathleen Reif announced today that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the St. Mary's County Library system an "Opportunity Online" Hardware Grant in the amount of $18,200.

However, the grant stipulates that it must be matched by $10,400 in local funds. The timeline for the library to raise the local funds is $3,900 by June 2008 and $6,500 by June 2009.

St. Mary's County Library is one of 18 library systems in Maryland to receive a grant.

According to Reif, the funds will provide for the purchase of new computers as well as the necessary software, furniture, and network equipment for all three of the library's branches: Charlotte Hall, Leonardtown and Lexington Park.

Last year, the library's computers had over 150,000 uses which was a 16% increase over the previous year. People use computers at any of the three St. Mary's County Library branch locations for a variety of reasons including looking for jobs, accessing government services, completing school assignments, or connecting with family and friends.

"I am grateful that Bill & Melinda Gates value the role played by libraries in helping our county residents stay on the Information Highway," said Reif in a statement. "And I am confident that many local businesses and individuals will be eager to partner with them so that our community does not miss out on this special funding opportunity."

BAE SYSTEMS, a local military contractor, was the first to provide matching funds. The BAE grant is for $1,000.

Businesses or individuals interested in contributing matching funds can contact Kathleen Reif at 301-475-2846 ext. 1013 or kreif (at) stmalib.org.

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