Sample Media Materials
Also available in MS Word
[Name of local contact person]
[Telephone number; e-mail address]
[LIBRARY NAME] Eligible to Receive Grant to Improve
Free Computer and Internet Services for [COMMUNITY NAME] Residents
Local matching dollars are required to obtain funds
[CITY, STATE] – [LIBRARY NAME] has become eligible for a [DOLLAR AMOUNT] grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to replace [and or add] public computer workstations for its patrons. The foundation’s Opportunity Online hardware grant program is designed to help the library provide free access to computers for library patrons long into the future.
“[Insert quote from local librarian or public official about the importance of technology services at the public library AND WHY THEY MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE COMMUNITY],” said [QUOTED INDIVIDUAL].
[LIBRARY] is required to match a portion of the funds given by the Gates Foundation. These matching dollars must be raised through community donations and local government funding. [INSERT NOTE ON HOW LIBRARY WILL BE RAISING FUNDS AND HOW THE PUBLIC CAN HELP, IF APPRORIATE]
While nearly all public libraries in the United States now offer free computer and Internet services, 40 percent report that they are not able to successfully maintain quality technology services for their patrons. [INSERT LOCAL ANECDOTE OR STAT ABOUT CHALLENGE IN PROVIDING SERVICES FOR EXAMPLE: BUDGET, TRAINING AND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES.]
The grant will also provide a special professional development symposium for local library staff from the region. The symposium will give library professionals the skills they need to build partnerships, work with their local leaders and reach out to their communities to secure stable funding and services.
To learn more about [LIBRARY NAME]’s participation in the Opportunity Online hardware grant program, and how you can help, please visit them at [LIBRARY ADDRESS/EMAIL].
The Opportunity Online hardware grant program is offered by the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries in partnership with the New York State Library, which seeks to help libraries maintain quality, free access to computers and the Internet for people in need. According to the foundation, this will be its last grant program to support libraries with vulnerable computer services. More information about the foundation can be found at: www.gatesfoundation.org.
Also available in MS Word
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Name of local library contact person]
[NAME OF LIBRARY] Eligible for Grant to Improve Free Computer and Internet Services for Community Residents
[Name of Community] Must Raise $# to Secure Funding
[CITY, STATE] – [NAME OF LIBRARY] is eligible for a $[X] Opportunity Online hardware grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, awarded through a partnership with the New York State Library, to help provide free, high-quality access to computer workstations for [NAME OF COMMUNITY]. The two-year Opportunity Online hardware grants program will provide funding to replace and in some cases, add public computer workstations in libraries, as well as associated training and tech support. The program is focused on serving populations most in need and libraries which are vulnerable to having their technology services become obsolete. Eligible libraries must obtain local funding commitments that demonstrate community support for maintaining computer upgrades. These grants are expected to be the last round given by the foundation to support vulnerable technology in U.S. libraries.
With almost 40 percent of Americans still lacking Internet access at home, libraries are a critical link to technology for many who cannot afford the service on their own. Millions of Americans use computers and the Internet at public libraries to earn long-distance learning degrees, start and advance small businesses, find critical health information, find jobs, learn English, get e-government information, and more. [INSERT LOCAL INFORMATION ON HOW FREE COMPUTER SERVICES AT THE LIBRARY BENEFIT YOUR COMMUNITY.]
“Computer and Internet access have become essential services that our patrons demand,” said [LIBRARY DIRECTOR OR LEAD STAFF – INSERT NAME AND TITLE]. “It is critical that we have the resources necessary to properly maintain these technology tools so that our library can help all people in [YOUR TOWN OR COMMUNITY] access the information they need to thrive and contribute fully to our community.”
While nearly 100 percent of U.S. public libraries now offer free computer and Internet services, many struggle to maintain them as budget cuts threaten to reduce operating hours, limit access to staff training and technical support, and make it difficult to keep pace with new technologies. [INSERT LOCAL STAT IF POSSIBLE AND/OR ANECDOTE THAT ILLUSTRATE THE CHALLENGE LOCALLY].
“It is virtually impossible to succeed today without access to computers and the Internet,” said Allan Golston, president of the foundation’s United States Program. “Fast, reliable online access can open a world of economic, educational, and social opportunities. It is imperative that all communities acknowledge the role our libraries play in providing this service and give libraries they support they need to continue providing critical technology tools long into the future.”
[CONSIDER PROVIDING SOME MORE BACKGROUND ON YOUR LIBRARY, ITS PROGRAMS AND HOW IT WILL SEEK TO RAISE ITS MATCHING DOLLARS IF APPROPRIATE]
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. More information is available at: www.gatesfoundation.org.
Also available in MS Word
Sending a letter to the editor of a local newspaper is an effective way to voice an opinion to local policy makers and community leaders, and to educate them about why they should support the library. They are great grassroots organizing tools and an easy way to involve supporters in Opportunity Online communications efforts. A letter to the editor should draw a connection between a recent news story and a library's priority issues, or praise a recent article or editorial.
Below are two templates that may help eligible libraries prepare their own letters to the editor regarding the Opportunity Online hardware grants. For maximum impact, libraries should identify community members that can endorse the letters and work with those individuals to insert specific examples of how their local library is benefiting them and the community.
This is a general letter to the editor template that could be written from a variety of sources in response to library-related news coverage, news about the Opportunity Online hardware grants, or about current community issues such as education or the economy. For example, the letter could be written and submitted by: a person who has researched important personal health care information at the library; a director of an after-school program that focuses on how technology at the library helps youth develop new skills; or a small business owner who believes free technology access benefits the local economy.
In response to your recent article [NAME OF ARTICLE, DATE], I would like to offer perspective on how our local library is [INSERT STATEMENT ABOUT HOW THE LIBRARY BENEFITS COMMUNITY THROUGH FREE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY].
In today’s society, computers and the Internet have become central to how we look for and use information that improves our lives. With almost 40 percent of Americans still lacking these tools at home, libraries are the first or only place to get connected for many people. Unfortunately, [NAME OF LIBRARY], like many others throughout the country, is having trouble keeping up with advancing technology and providing enough computers to meet the needs of our community.
To help, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the New York State Library, recently offered our library an Opportunity Online matching grant designed to replace [and/or add] computers so more people can benefit from the world of information online. [$X] of local funding is needed to secure this grant.
The future of our community depends on [NAME OF LIBRARY]’s ability to sustain quality services that provide opportunities for all people. Let’s make sure our library gets the support it needs to make this happen. Visit your local librarian to see how you can help.
Match Completion Letter
This letter to the editor template can be used following news or announcements about a library’s successful completion of the first match requirement for Opportunity Online. Libraries may want to consider working with a local patron to include information on how the library’s technology services have benefited them.
In response to your article, [NAME OF ARTICLE], congratulations are in order for both [NAME OF TOWN/COUNTY] and the [NAME OF LIBRARY] for their dedication to providing free, quality access to computers and the Internet for all people. By raising the required [$X], they have qualified for the first half of a [$X] grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, awarded through a partnership with the New York State Library, that will help replace [and/or add] computer workstations at the library.
In today’s world, the Internet is a vital tool that can help people find jobs, further their education, research important health issues, and share ideas. Our library is helping to ensure that all residents of [COMMUNITY NAME] are able to seek these opportunities regardless of whether they can reach the Internet at home. [INSERT PERSONAL STORY OR INFORMATION ABOUT HOW THE LIBRARY HAS BENEFITTED THE SIGNER]
We should be proud to live in a place where our community leaders understand the importance of libraries and the services they provide. Let’s make sure we give our library the support it needs to raise the matching dollars needed to receive the second part of this important funding opportunity.
Go to Library Development home page