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OSL Receives $1.6 Million Stimulus Funds
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A Major Broadband Technology Grant to be Sought in March

OSHEAN (pronounced Ocean) and its partner Ocean State Libraries (OSL) have been awarded a federal stimulus grant to assist Rhode Islanders with library based, computer access.

The $1.6 million in funds will provide 600+ computers/printers and 10 mobile computer centers for public libraries at over 70 locations throughout the state - covering virtually every public library in Rhode Island.

"Stimulus funding is coming to Rhode Island at an extremely critical time for public libraries," said David Macksam, Director of the Cranston Public Library and OSL Vice President. "We are facing increasing demands to provide high speed internet access to citizens who are turning to their public libraries to search for job opportunities, prepare resumes and complete online job applications. Our current and future abilities to respond are threatened by continuing reductions in funding from cash strapped municipalities. Stimulus funding could make a real difference."

The grant, awarded as part of the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) will expand the libraries' capacity to offer public-use of personal computers, enable expanded employment training and workshops, and provide streaming video equipment that will allow libraries to offer classes in one location while sharing content at another library location.

The mobile computer centers can travel throughout the OSL library locations. Each center is equipped with a classroom of computers and internet connections.

"This $1.6 million Recovery award to OSHEAN and Ocean State Libraries is well deserved," said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. "Access to computers in public libraries is critical to citizens to gain access to employment information and help improve computer skills. Broadband grants are extremely competitive, and this award highlights the tremendous efforts by OSHEAN and OSL, and their commitment to increasing access to computers and the Internet for citizens throughout all communities in Rhode Island."

It is estimated over 36,000 library patrons will utilize the new and upgraded computers each week.

"Receiving the BTOP stimulus grant represents an unprecedented opportunity for the citizens of Rhode Island," said Joan E. Gillespie, OSL Executive Director. "We are also very grateful to the state Office of Library and Information Services for their help and to the Champlin Foundations for providing matching funds for this grant and for their ongoing support of RI libraries. They have truly built the backbone of library technology in Rhode Island."

To review the official OSHEAN/OSL Press Release, please click here

To review the official NTIA Press Release, please click here

To review the article on Providence Business News, please click here

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