April 16, 1997

Memphis, TN-----The Memphis/Shelby County Public Library & Information Centers officials and supporters, in celebration of National Log-On at the Library Day, announced at the Whitehaven Branch Library the kick-off of the Internet Teen Volunteer Program.

Students in the Hillcrest High School Computer Club joined the library to celebrate Log-On at the Library Day by demonstrating their Internet browsing skills when they pulled up a message on the librarys web page addressed to them from Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates. In the message, Gates welcomed the teens onto the World Wide Web.

Dave Purdue, Chair of the Development Board of Technology for the library discussed the importance of new technologies and Whitehaven community volunteer and local businessman, Pat Carter expressed how valuable programs like the Libraries OnLine! Internet Teen Volunteer Program are to the community.

The Internet Teen Volunteer Program is designed to train teens to be Volunteer Internet Assistants at public libraries. The goal of the volunteer program is to empower teens to help their peers and other library users tap into the world of information the Internet has to offer. Teens who participate in the volunteer program must be 14 years or older, have good computer and communications skills and an interest in helping others learn to use the librarys computer resources.

Judith Drescher, Director of Libraries, explained the role the Libraries OnLine! grant will play in the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library & Information Centers efforts to enhance its ability to provide information. "Libraries are leading the way into the Information Age and programs such as Libraries OnLine! help to ensure that everyone has access to one of our eras most powerful toolsthe Internet."

As a participant in Libraries OnLine!, the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library & Information Center has received more than $135,000 in the form of software and financial and technical assistance since Bill Gates and Microsoft launched the program in October of last year. "Libraries will play a pivotal role as we enter the 21st Century in providing access to knowledge and opportunities for everyone," Gates said. Libraries OnLine! is a $10.5 million philanthropic initiative to deliver the Internet to libraries in economically disadvantaged communities.

In its second year, Libraries OnLine! will touch the lives of library users in 41 library systems across the United States and Canada.

Thanks to Libraries OnLine! and Microsoft, along with the Whitehaven Branch Library, the Internet will also be available at the following branches of the Memphis/Shelby County Public Library & Information Center: Cherokee, Frayser, Gaston Park, Hollywood, North, Raleigh, South, Vance and Main Library.

For more information about the Internet Teen Volunteer Program, call LINC at 725-8895.

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