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NLSA/Gates Foundation Global Libraries Project Launch
"Improving the quality of life through information"

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) received a R32 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries. The grant is for a two year pilot project to strengthen public libraries in South Africa through the provision of new technologies, training in ICT, as well as opportunity to identify new services to enhance access to information. This R32 million grant is a precursor to the country grant which will benefit all public libraries in South Africa.

The NLSA/Gates Foundation Global Libraries Project was launched on 18 March 2014 at the NLSA Pretoria Campus. The launch formed part of the NLSA’s celebration of the South African Library Week from 17 – 22 March 2014, with the theme ´Celebrating libraries in 20 years of Democracy: Check in @ your library´. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation representatives, US Embassy representatives, and partners from the Department of Arts and Culture, LIASA and Heads of Provincial Libraries, amongst others, attended the launch.

The fund has been awarded in partnership with government to strengthen and enhance current public library services by:
  • Expanding technology for information access in public libraries;
  • Introducing new library services for community development;
  • Re-skilling and upskilling of staff in information technology and leadership training;
  • Enhancing existing resources and creating new library spaces.
The grant beneficiaries include all the provinces in South Africa, NLSA and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA). The pilot and planning grant will involve 27 libraries, three per province. From the grant each library will receive ICT hardware which includes 20 computers, 10 e-readers, 10 tablets, free software from Microsoft, as well as licences. The 27 libraries to benefit from this pilot and planning grant are:
  • Gauteng: Sharpeville, Wedela and Suurman;
  • North West: Rustenberg, Delareyville and Reivilo;
  • Mpumalanga: Siyabuswa, Secunda and Emjindini;
  • Western Cape: CJ Langenhoven, D´Almeida and Paarl;
  • Limpopo: Ga-Phaahla, Mogalakwena and Thulamela;
  • Eastern Cape: Mdantsane, Queenstown and Mount Fletcher;
  • Free State: Zamdela, Mangaung and Edenville;
  • Northern Cape: Rietfontein, Mapoteng and Galeshewe;
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: Mtubatuba, Osizweni and Kwandwalane.
This grant complements the Conditional Grant of the Community Library Services initiated by the Department of Arts and Culture in 2007 which is aimed at, but not limited to: building more libraries and upgrading library buildings; buying, equipping and delivering mobile libraries and container libraries; expanding and improving ICT connectivity; and developing and implementing a new provincial ICT system.

Muponisi Nkuna



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