TALLAHASSEE, FL (October 2, 2009) – The LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System will nearly double the amount of computers at its branches – significantly expanding residents’ access to the Internet – thanks to an $83,250 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
With the grant, the library system will purchase 150 Netbooks, translating to an additional 380,000 hours of Internet access a year. Right now, residents often have to wait up to an hour to use a computer, said Helen Moeller, Leon County library director.
“There is a tremendous demand for the library's public computers. Many residents do not have the high speed Internet connections at home that are needed to apply for jobs and to find the information they need from the Internet,” Moeller said. “The Knight Foundation award will decrease the digital divide in our community and will move this library into a new level of service.”
The grant is part of a $3.1 million Knight Foundation initiative benefitting library patrons in 12 communities across the United States. The effort reinforces the findings of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, which assessed how communities across the country receive news and information. The Knight commission, which issued a report today in Washington D.C., argues that lack of equal access to quality information threatens democracy in America.
In the report, available at www.knightcomm.org, the commission recommends funding public libraries as centers of digital and media training.
“Libraries are the greatest providers of free Internet – offering residents access to the critical news and information they need to make decisions about their lives,” said Mike Pate, Tallahassee program director for Knight Foundation. “Through this initiative, we hope to augment libraries’ roles as vital community centers while helping to create engaged and informed communities.”
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
- Marc Fest, 305-908-2677; email@example.com
- Helen Moeller, 850-606-2614, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Pate, 850-339-5031, email@example.com
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.