The annual Access to Learning Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes the innovative efforts of the public libraries and similar institutions outside the United States, especially from developing countries or those working with disadvantaged communities involved in connecting people to information and opportunities through free access to computers and internet. The Award provides a grant of $1 million to support future activities of the grantee organization.
Selection process: An international advisory committee made up of librarians, information technology experts, and foundation staff evaluates applications based on candidates’ innovative efforts to: make computer and Internet access free to the public; train the public in using technology and accessing information; educate staff on technology use; reach out to underserved communities; and ability of the candidate to serve as a model of innovation for other communities. The committee selects a list of final candidates for consideration by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Following an independent financial and organizational review of the finalists, the foundation selects the award recipient.
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