Gates Library Initiative: Opportunity Online Hardware Grant Program

The New York State Library participated in a Bill & Melinda Gates Library Foundation program entitled the Opportunity Online Hardware Grant Program. The State Library worked in partnership with PULISDO to implement this program. This program provided 2,145 computers for a maximum of 421 New York State public libraries, for a value of approximately $6.1 million.

Lists of Eligible Libraries by Library System

Purpose of the Program

The Opportunity Online Hardware Grant Program was designed to help public libraries upgrade hardware and learn how to sustain these upgrades over time. The program focused on libraries that serve high need communities that are struggling to keep pace with technology changes. The program also sought to motivate local governments to commit long-term local funding to computer services in public libraries.

The two-year grant program funded public computer workstations, and associated training and tech support. It required dedicated local funding through a monitored and enforced escalating matching requirement (25% for the first year and 50% for year two).


The Gates Foundation determined eligibility for each participating library. Libraries had to meet two criteria to receive funding:

  • Economic Need: Eligible public libraries serve communities where 10% of the total population or more than 3,000 people in each library service area live in poverty. Each public library was designated as either rural, urban, or suburban, which defined their service area radius.
  • Hardware Need: Eligible public libraries demonstrated that their computer and internet services are vulnerable to becoming obsolete. Libraries ran a TechAtlas computer inventory report to assess their hardware vulnerability.
  • Advocacy FAQs
  • Link to Sagamore Conference Center
  • Gates "Save the Date" Announcement

Gates Foundation Grant Announcement

State Library Grant Proposal

Background Information (from Gates Foundation; in .PDF format)

About the Initiative

State Partnership Grant

Library Training Program Grant

Staying Connected 1

Staying Connected 2

Rural Library Sustainability Project

Spanish Language Outreach Program

Opportunity Online Hardware Grant Program

Last Updated: June 6, 2017