I must admit, I thought they were already in place in Bulgarian libraries so it surprised me when I read this piece of news. It will of course be a popular move and draw the younger Bulgarians into libraries with the new technology installed. Libraries could be a kind of Internet café scenario across the country. I have been in my home town library and do recall no computer based systems there, but I put that down to Yambol being one of the smaller towns in Bulgaria. I’ll have to go there in the New Year and see what changes will have been made.
More than 450 libraries across Bulgaria will be fitted out with computers and linked to the internet, Dnevnik daily reported on November 4 2009.
Computer and educational software will be made available to all library staff, which will constitute part of the first phase of Glob@l Libraries Bulgaria, the report says.
The programme was developed and initiated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF), with the intent of securing information access through the Internet to more than a thousand Bulgarian libraries.
The budget allocated for the Bulgarian operation amounts to about $15 million, while the scheme itself will be implemented in several different phases.
Additionally, Microsoft has earmarked a donation to Bulgarian libraries amounting to about $6 million.
The B&MGF is the largest "transparency private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family", it says on the foundation's website.
The primary objectives of the organisation are to improve health care and reduce extreme poverty, and to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.
To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, it must donate at least five per cent of its assets each year, or amounting to about $1.5 billion.