Gates foundation makes $1m award for Columbian library innovation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented its tenth annual Access to Learning Award of $1m (£620,000) to the Columbian Fundación Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM Foundation) at a ceremony in Milan, Italy on 25th August. The organisation was chosen for its innovative use of technology in public libraries to provide the local community with the skills needed to improve lives.
The EPM Foundation’s Network of Public Libraries (NPL) provides citizens, the majority of whom are from low-income communities, with access to information and technology through its 34 libraries across Medellín.
Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “Their work is a stunning example of how a country can use the power of public libraries and technology to transform people’s lives.”
The EPM Foundation will use the funds to expand the services on its web portal, and develop information and communication technology training programmes.
The Access to Learning award is aimed at libraries outside the US providing free access to the internet and other technology.