Friday, September 18, 2009

BCLS receives Google Community Grant

Berkeley County Library System Receives
Google Community Grant for Urgent Needs
More than $13,450 awarded for laptops and equipment

(BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.) – Sept. 18, 2009 – The Berkeley County Library System (BCLS) has received a $13,450 Google Community Grant from the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at Tides Foundation to purchase laptops and charging cabinets to address increased demand for its services due to a weakened economy and a high unemployment rate.

“Our Google Community Grant is coming at a time when people in our service areas need it most,” said Donna Osborne, director of the Berkeley County Library System. “Over the last two years, we’ve noticed that more and more people are using the computers in the libraries to help search for jobs, write their resumes and to fill out online applications. There are also those who can’t afford to continue their Internet services at home. The grant will also help to bridge the digital divide by providing access to the Internet to those who don’t have it at home.”

Since 2007, computer use throughout BCLS has increased by more than 20 percent, mounting concerns that more computers are needed.

The new laptops will be distributed throughout the BCLS. Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, Daniel Island, Hanahan, Sangaree and St. Stephen will receive laptops for public in-house use. These communities also have the highest unemployment rate at more than 10 percent and if the unemployment rate increases, computers used for job searches will also increase.

The grant also helps BCLS mission to provide laptops and up-to-date resources for the more than 35,000 people in the community who use our public-access computers. The additional laptops will provide a more acceptable level of service as well as address the space problem at some of BCLS’ facilities, which lack the space for additional desktop computers.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) minimum standard for adequate computer resources at a public library is one public computer per 1,500 residents. The BCLS would need 115 or 109 computers to meet the minimum standard. Currently, the BCLS has 61 public-access computers with wireless access system-wide. With the Google Community Grant, BCLS will purchase 12 more laptops.

“Libraries are central meeting places that provide information, education and technological literacy for those in the libraries’ service areas,” said Jeff Stevenson, Google's Project Manager for South Carolina. “Through this grant and working with community partners, this is just one of many ways that we will continue to provide any assistance that we can in our data center communities.”

The Google Community Grant comes from the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at Tides Foundation, which offers donor-advised funds and other grant-making vehicles, as well as professional philanthropic advice.

For more information about the Google Community Grants Program, go to and visit the "Community Outreach" page. Interested parties can submit an online application through this Web page on or before the first day of each quarter (January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1). All grant applications must be submitted online.

(The Berkeley County Library System is comprised of six libraries and an administration building (housed in the former Main library). The library employs twelve professional librarians and forty-one full-time staff in addition to six part-time staff member, student interns and volunteers. This year marks the launch of free Wi-Fi in our six library locations.)

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