Bulgarian Librarians Thank Gates Foundation with Major Award
The Bulgarian Library and Information Association has presented its annual Support for Libraries Award to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Initiative for its contribution to the development of public libraries in Bulgaria and their establishment as vital centers for information, communication, and electronic public services.
“This award is an expression of the gratitude of the Bulgarian library community for the initiation of the Glob@l Libraries–Bulgaria program in response to the needs of Bulgarian citizens for equal access to information,” said Snejana Ianeva, director of the Information Resource Center at the United States Embassy in Sofia. “The Bulgarian Library and Information Association extends its sincere thanks to the employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their dedication and tireless efforts in managing the Glob@l Libraries–Bulgaria program,” she added.
Glob@l Libraries–Bulgaria relies on the joint efforts of central government, the local authorities, and the nongovernmental sector for successful implementation and sustained results, Ianeva said November 1. The total program budget is $48 million, which includes the $15-million foundation grant; an $18-million software donation from Microsoft, and a matching contribution of $15 million from central and local government agencies. Ianeva noted that through its target libraries, Glob@l Libraries–Bulgaria provides free use of ICT equipment and the internet for visitors at 960 public libraries in 260 of Bulgaria’s 264 municipalities. “Glob@l Libraries–Bulgaria provides free-of-cost training to librarians in library management, library services, and software skills,” she added. A total of 3,000 trainees are envisaged for the period 2011–2013.
The annual Support for Libraries Award is part of the Bulgarian Library and Information Association’s awards program, which is designed to honor significant contributions to libraries and librarianship in Bulgaria. The awards are given to individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact on national library policy, have significantly contributed to improving the quality of library services, and have a record of support for libraries, literacy, and public access to information.