BRADENTON, FL. – Patrons of the Manatee County Public Library System who utilize the library’s free Internet terminals will enjoy a noticeable boost in Internet connection speeds thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
In addition to the use of fiber optics and other technologies to expand the bandwidth on the existing computers at all of the library’s branch locations, the grant is also providing funds for 10 “stand-alone” computers. These will be used by patrons filling out job applications, government forms, legal paperwork and other forms of documentation that frequently require more than the half-hour time limit allotted on the library’s regular Internet terminals. Five of these computers will be available at the Central Library, and two will be installed at each of the branch libraries.
Finally, the grant will allow the library’s Bookmobile to offer Internet access with the acquisition of two laptop computers, and patrons coming to the library for meetings will be able to take advantage of the interactive computer “whiteboards” that will be installed in each of the library’s meeting rooms.
“Libraries have always been an invaluable resource for job-hunters—this is especially true in today’s difficult economic times.” said Cheri Coryea, director of Manatee County’s Neighborhood Services Department. “The addition of new computers that will enable people to fill out job applications will have positive and far-reaching effects that will ultimately benefit the community as a whole.”
“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
The $250,000 grant is part of a $5.5 million Knight Foundation initiative benefiting library users in 20 communities across the United States. The effort reinforces the sweeping recommendations by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, a project of the Aspen Institute. In a report issued earlier this year, the Commission asserts that democracy in America is threatened by the lack of equal access to quality information. Funding public libraries, as centers of digital and media training, is one key to filling the gaps, the commission says. Its report is available at www.knightcomm.org.
About the Manatee County Public Library System
The Manatee County Public Library has six locations to serve the public. It is a full service library system and has a collection which includes books, periodicals, newspapers, video & audio materials and more. It also has a full range of activities and meeting rooms available for public use. The library loans well over a million books and other materials each year, while welcoming nearly a million customers. The library system is a division of the County’s Neighborhood Services Department.
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 informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
Contact: John Van Berkel, 941-748-5555 ext 6301; or,
Marc Fest, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; email@example.com
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.