#South Africa: Gates Foundation introduces Tech to South African Libraries


The Gauteng provincial government has launched the third leg of the multimillion-rand Mzansi Libraries On-Line Pilot Project at the Nkalimeng Leutsoa Public Library in Sharpeville, South Africa. New equipment at the library includes desktop computers, printers, scanners and tablets; free wifi is also available.

The project is an initiative of the Global Libraries Programme of South Africa, and is funded by the National Libraries South Africa, the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Global Libraries Programme has committed to roll out the project to 44 more libraries across Gauteng over the next three years, with 14 to be completed in the 2016/17 financial year. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also supported Chile, Mexico, Botswana, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Moldova, Jamaica, and Turkey.

The upgrades will benefit the community of Sharpeville by providing them with access to information. The project aimed at enhancing and strengthening library services in Gauteng by turning public libraries into spaces for learning, recreation, socialisation and social cohesion.

The R32-million two-year project is being piloted at three libraries in Gauteng; the others are the Suurman Library in Tshwane and Wedela Library in Merafong. It provides free new technological resources and training.

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