TORONTO, Ont., July 25, 1996 — Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corp., today announced the software company will donate $1 million to expand its Libraries Online! initiative into Canada, bringing the Internet and multimedia computers initially to Toronto and Ottawa, and later to communities across the country.
The alliance between Microsoft and the Canadian Library Association was announced today in Toronto at the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library, the first Canadian library to participate in the initiative.
Libraries Online! is a key initiative of Microsoft Canada KidReach, a national donations program that encourages computer literacy in Canadian young people. Microsoft Canada KidReach is providing funding and software to the project.
Established in the United States last November by Microsoft Corp., Libraries Online! strives to reach out to families, students and other individuals in rural and urban communities that lack access to the Internet and the World Wide Web, multimedia technology and software.
“Microsoft recognizes the significant contribution public libraries make to the education of Canadians,”
said Bill Gates.
“The library is an ideal setting where people can use the full potential of computers and the Internet to conduct research, learn and communicate. And through the extensive efforts of KidReach, Microsoft is helping to make this technology accessible in every community.”
Microsoft KidReach was founded in April, 1994, and offers donations of software and funding to diverse organizations and projects across Canada dedicated to the education and training of Canadian youth.
“Canadians in communities across the country must have access to the technology and information that will allow them to learn and enrich their lives,”
said Karen Adams, executive director of the Canadian Library Association.
“Libraries Online! is an important initiative that will allow libraries to expand their use of computers to ensure universal access to information for all Canadians. The library has always been a source of knowledge and learning for many people, and will remain so even in the electronic age.”
Libraries from across Canada will be joining the Toronto Public Library’s Lillian H. Smith, Parkdale and Riverdale branches later this year as Libraries Online! participants. In Ottawa, the Libraries Online! project will be launched in three branches: St. Laurent, West and Rideau.
“Public libraries are becoming the community’s electronic doorway to information,”
said Barbara Clubb, chief librarian of the Ottawa Public Library, Canada’s largest bilingual (English and French) public library.
“The library board’s goal is to provide the whole community with access to both global and local communications and information networks. As part of Microsoft’s Libraries Online! initiative, we can reach that goal faster and more effectively. And the public will be able to look to libraries to play the same role with electronic information as they do now with books.”
With the assistance of Libraries Online!, Electronic Resource Centres will provide access to a wide range of electronic information tools, including World Wide Web access, personal computers, software and online resources.
“It is so important that children whose parents can’t afford to buy them computers have a chance to learn this new technology and have the same opportunities to explore new and interesting topics,”
said Gabriele Lundeen, chief librarian for the Toronto Public Library.
The Toronto Public Library and the Ottawa Public Library join nine library systems in the United States that have received more than $3 million (U.S.) in cash grants, staff training, computer hardware, technical support and Microsoft software to meet specific needs of their respective communities.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft home page at http://microsoft.com/canada/ .
Microsoft Canada Inc.
Hill and Knowlton
Lora Gernon (905) 568-0434, ext. 4121
Mia Pearson (416) 480-7325
Canadian Library Association
(613) 232-9625, ext. 306