Gates Grant

May 12, 2008

Press Contact:
Stefanie Arck, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Brooklyn Public Library
Phone: 718.230.2458


Brooklyn Public Library Receives Grant for Additional Computer Resources
More computers and Resources Available to Brooklynites

Brooklyn, NY, February 20 – Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has received a $873,164 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to replace and 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.

“Brooklyn Public Library is the primary, if not sole, means of accessing technology for thousands of Brooklynites,” said Dionne Mack-Harvin, Executive Director Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). “Youth and adults alike rely on our free computers and access to the Internet for learning, creating, and staying connected to the rest of the world. The generous support of the Gates Foundation will help BPL to continue to serve as a gateway.”

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.

“Without this generous grant, it would be costly and time consuming to keep the technology in good working condition,” said Selvon Smith, Director of Information Technology for Brooklyn Public Library. “But with it, we’ll be able to not only continue providing service, but improve it as well.”

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.

More information about BPL can be found at

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:

Marketing & Communications
Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 neighborhood libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library's resources of over 70 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at