Bill Gates Announces Donations Totaling $1.1 Million to Bring Software, Internet and Multimedia PCs to Los Angeles Libraries & Schools

LOS ANGELES, Calif., November 27, 1996 — Joined by Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and other city leaders before an audience of junior high and high school students in the Los Angeles Public Library, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates today announced donations of cash and software worth $1.1 million to provide the Los Angeles Public Library and Los Angeles schools with multimedia computers and a wide variety of software, training and other support.

The gift will benefit tens-of-thousands of public library users and school-age children throughout the 67 libraries in the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and the Los Angeles County School System. It will be used to support three programs: the LAPL’s Electronic Resources Training Center at the Central Library, the Los Angeles Public Library’s Information Network and the Los Angeles County School System’s Technology for Learning program.

The majority of the gift comes from proceeds of Gates’ revised bestseller, The Road Ahead, with additional funding from Microsoft’s national philanthropic initiative, Libraries Online!

“Through our projects in schools and libraries around the country, we’re seeing the power of technology help people of all ages and backgrounds, particularly young people,” Gates said. “Personal computers and the Internet have tremendous potential to improve education. This technology helps people expand their world by connecting to information as well as to one another.”

“Los Angeles is a leader in using technology to connect students, teachers, communities and families,” Gates continued. “I’m really happy that proceeds from the book can build on the good work underway in this community. I look forward to continued great things from Los Angeles.”

“As the address of the original Internet, Los Angeles is home to what’s new and what’s next,” said Mayor Riordan. “As trendsetters in integrating technology into our classrooms and libraries, we will apply this generous investment toward creating even greater access for Angelenos. Bill Gates’ gift will touch the lives of thousands of students and adults throughout Los Angeles — not just today, but as we move to the 21st century.”

The Road Ahead Program

Gates joined the Mayor for a tour of the LAPL Central Library’s Electronic Resources Training Center, which was funded by a $110,000 cash and software donation to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. It will serve as a training site for LAPL’s staff, the general public and students from throughout the community, including students of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Electronic Information Magnet High School, housed at the Central Library. Magnet school teachers will be provided training and curriculum assistance through the Road Ahead program.

An additional software grant worth $500,000 will be used by the Los Angeles County Technology for Education program in its effort to provide technology training to all 60,000 Los Angeles County teachers. The software will be used in 25 teacher training centers to assist educators in integrating technology into classroom activities.

Referring to the gift from The Road Ahead proceeds, Dr. Donald Ingwerson, Superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education said, “The Los Angeles County Office of Education has set a goal of moving the County’s public schools to the top ten percent nationally in giving children access to technology. This generous gift is a great boost to our efforts. I look forward to a time when every student in Los Angeles County benefits from the tools of technology, and participates productively in this new age. Mr. Gates is setting a wonderful example by helping us reach that goal.”

All proceeds from Gates’ book, The Road Ahead, first published in 1995, have gone to fund technology projects in 23 schools around the U.S. Over $3 million has been donated to provide access to technology, training and support for community-based school programs nationwide. The Road Ahead program is administered by the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education (NFIE) in Washington, D.C.

Libraries Online!

The Los Angeles Public Library, through its fund-raising arm, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, will also receive $500,000 in software and technical assistance from Microsoft’s Libraries Online! program. The gift will aid in extending software resources throughout the LAPL system.

“Libraries are playing a pivotal role as we enter the 21st Century in providing access to knowledge and opportunities for all Americans,” said Susan Goldberg Kent, City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library. “The LAPL’s goal is to provide equity of access to the world of information to every person in Los Angeles. With the help of Microsoft, we are moving ahead quite rapidly.”

Speaking to 250 students, library patrons, educators, and local officials in the Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium, Gates stressed the importance of providing access to technology and information resources to all Americans. Welcoming the Microsoft chairman and speaking at the forum were Mayor Riordan, City Councilwoman Rita Walters, Library Commission President Lucy McCoy, Susan Goldberg Kent, and Director of Programs for the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, Carol Edwards. Entertainer and children’s advocate Sinbad served as master of ceremonies and facilitator of a question-and-answer session with Gates.

This latest donation brings the total Microsoft investment in the Los Angeles Public Library to $750,000 in cash and software. The Los Angeles Public Library was chosen as one of nine original pilot sites for Microsoft’s Libraries Online! program in recognition of its commitment to the use of high technology. Virtual Electronic Libraries opened at the Cahuenga and Pio Pico/Koreatown branch libraries in early 1996. The popularity of the computers and software continues to grow. In October, Microsoft announced an additional grant to fund an Electronic Resources Training Center at the LAPL’s Mid-Valley Regional Branch Library, which is scheduled to open in 1997.

As part of Microsoft’s corporate giving program, Libraries Online! has donated $15 million in cash, software and technical assistance to help library systems in rural and urban communities nationwide to provide public access to the Internet and multimedia personal computers. Through a relationship with the American Library Association (ALA), Microsoft is assisting 215 communities in 41 library systems in the U.S. and Canada.

For Further Information (Media Only):

Microsoft: John Pinette (206) 936-0755 or Cathy Garmezy (Robinson Lerer

Montgomery) (310) 442-2516

Los Angeles Public Library: Robert Reagan, (213) 228-7555

Los Angeles County Office of Education: Jim Lanisch (310) 922-6639

National Federation for the Improvement of Education: Judy Hodgson (202) 822-7840

American Library Association: Molly Callender (312) 280-5048

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