Digital Access to Increase at Chapin Memorial Library with Knight Foundation Grant

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - (October 7, 2009) – Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library will expand digital access for residents by increasing the number of computers residents can use with a $65,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The funds will be used to replace 31 all public computers at the library – and add 14 more – while increasing the bandwidth for the library’s public and staff networks.

“Library patrons still come for the books – but they also want computer and Internet access,” said Cathy Wiggins, director of Chapin Memorial Library.

Last year alone, the library’s public computers and wireless connections were in use nearly 36,000 hours, Wiggins added.

The grant - as well as a $150,000 grant to Horry County Memorial Library - is part of a $3.3 million Knight Foundation initiative benefiting library users in 12 communities across the United States. The effort reinforces the findings of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, which assessed how communities across the country receive news and information. The Knight commission, which issued a report Oct. 2 available at knightcomm.org, argues that the lack of equal access to quality information threatens democracy in America. It recommends funding public libraries as centers of digital and media training.

“Libraries are the greatest providers of free Internet – offering residents access to the critical news and information they need to make decisions about their lives,” said Susan Patterson, Myrtle Beach program director for Knight Foundation. “Through this initiative, we hope to augment libraries’ roles as vital community centers while helping to create engaged and informed communities.”

At Chapin Memorial Library, the Knight Foundation grant will provide 25 desktop computers, 12 laptops, four Netbooks and four Macbooks, for a total of 45 computers. The library has offered wireless Internet access for several years, and the grant also will improve that service through increased bandwidth.

Chapin Memorial Library, at 400 14th Avenue North, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. For more information about the Knight Foundation grant or other library services, call Library Director Cathy Wiggins at 843-918-1275. Chapin Memorial Library is the only city-owned library in South Carolina.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Media Contacts:

  • Mark Kruea, Public Information Officer, (843) 918-1014 Phone, (843) 450-1695 Mobile
  • Susan Patterson, Knight Foundation Myrtle Beach Program Director, (704) 973-4566 or (786) 271-6631, patterson@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.