SCHROON LAKE The Schroon Lake Public Library has become eligible for a $5,200 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to replace two public computer workstations for its patrons. The foundations Opportunity Online hardware grant program is designed to help the library provide free access to computers for library patrons long into the future. The trustees were excited to receive notification that the Schroon Lake Library was a recipient of the Gates Grant. As we, the trustees, attempt to meet the needs of our communities in the 21st century, this grant will allow us to develop and maintain high standards of computer services. The use of our internet access computers has grown tremendously over the past year, showing the need for this service. Staying connected in todays world is of utmost importance. said Jane Claus, library board president. The Schroon Lake Public Library is required to match a portion of the funds given by the Gates Foundation. These matching dollars must be raised through community donations and local government funding. We are fortunate to have wonderful community support and a very active Friends of the Library group, Claus said. The matching funds, which allow us to apply for this grant, have come through the town of Schroon 2008 budget. The trustees wish to thank Supervisor Cathy Moses and the members of the town board for their support of the library. While nearly all public libraries in the United States now offer free computer and Internet services, 40 percent report that they are not able to successfully maintain quality technology services for their patrons. The grant will also provide a special professional development symposium for local library staff from the region. The symposium will give library professionals the skills they need to build partnerships, work with their local leaders and reach out to their communities to secure stable funding and services. To learn more about the Schroon Lake Public Librarys participation in the Opportunity Online hardware grant program, contact them at 532-7737 ext.13. The Opportunity Online hardware grant program is offered by the Gates Foundations U.S. Libraries in partnership with the New York State Library, which seeks to help libraries maintain quality, free access to computers and the Internet for people in need. According to the foundation, this will be its last grant program to support libraries with vulnerable computer services. More information about the foundation can be found at: www.gatesfoundation.org.