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IFLA receives $1M
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Support Work for Libraries

21 August 2007

World Library and Information Congress in Durban, South Africa - The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) today announced the receipt of a USD $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries initiative. The funding will support IFLA's work to strengthen awareness of the important role libraries play in developing the information society.

Libraries enable people to take part in the information society, to develop their knowledge and their opportunities. Many libraries provide free access to online information found on computers connected to the Internet, which allows people to improve their economic and social well-being.

As IFLA demonstrated during its active participation in the World Summit of the Information Society, libraries are key elements of the provision of free access to information and support for freedom of expression. Current IFLA president Alex Byrne and incoming president Claudia Lux expressed their gratitude for the foundation's support which will assist IFLA to continue to promote these priorities and will strengthen the longstanding co-operation between IFLA and the foundation has now moved to a new level in which the organizations will further promote the development of libraries in the world.

(Claudia Lux, Martha Choe, Ellen Tise and Alex Byrne)

"We are pleased to support IFLA's work to promote libraries as important centers for learning and information. Our partnership with IFLA will help more public libraries provide free public access to computers and the Internet, which can provide people with opportunities to enhance their education, find jobs, build businesses, and exchange ideas with people around the world," said Martha Choe, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries initiative.

Each year at IFLA's annual meeting of active librarians, the World Library and Information Congress, the foundation presents its annual Access to Learning Award. The award honors innovation in providing free access to online information in public libraries or related institutions.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About IFLA

Notes for editors:
IFLA is the global voice of the library and information profession. Established in 1927, IFLA currently has some 1600 members in 150 countries. Together, IFLA's association and institutional members represent over 500.000 librarians and library workers serving almost two billion registered library users worldwide. IFLA is an accredited non-governmental organisation enjoying consultative status to the United Nations.

Peter Johan Lor
Secretary General of IFLA

For more on IFLA, see: http://www.ifla.org