June 6, 1997

Olympia, WA----Mason County community members are invited to the grand opening of the "Libraries Online!" computer lab in the William G. Reed Public Library in Shelton on Friday, June 13 from 2-3 p.m. Libraries Online! is a collaborative
effort of Microsoft, the American Library Association and the Technology Resource Institute.

The lab was funded as part of a $225,000 grant to the Timberland Regional Library from the Microsoft Corporation. At the opening, individuals can learn more about the lab, be part of a "Power Up" ceremony, and enjoy refreshments and drawings for prizes .

Shelton's William G. Reed Public Library is one of four in the Timberland Regional Library system that are being equipped with computer labs as part of the grant. The Aberdeen, Centralia, and Raymond libraries will receive
similar labs equipped with four multimedia PCs. In addition, the similar labs equipped with four multimedia PCs. In addition, the Hoodsport, Hoquiam, Ocean Park, and Packwood Timberland libraries will receive stand-alone multimedia computers.

Community members will be able to access the Internet, multimedia technology and current software applications, such as word processing, graphic design, and spreadsheets.

Libraries Online! is an initiative of the Microsoft Corporation, the American Library Association and the Technology Resource Institute to research and develop innovative approaches for extending information technologies to communities. A central focus is reaching out to families, small business owners, students and others that may not otherwise have access to information technologies.

"Microsoft is happy to be working with the Timberland system," said Libraries Online program director Chris Hedrick. "Our first priority has been to expand access to the Internet and to PC technology into communities that might not otherwise have it. T his new lab and the facilities planned for the other three branches will provide important tools for personal achievement and life-long learning. We look forward to seeing great things from the library patrons who take advantage of this facility."

Microsoft's Hedrick and Barry Murphy, Washington State Government Affairs Manager, will be representing the corporation at the grand opening.

"Libraries are instrumental in helping everyone enter the information age, regardless of the economic makeup of the communities in which they live. This Libraries Online! project is working in Mason County and other communities to assure that everyone has an opportunity to use new and powerful information technologies," said Thelma Kruse, Timberland Library Director.

The library is teaming up with Mason County Literacy and Olympic College's Women in Transition and New Chance Programs to encourage people who need help finding jobs and those who need reading and writing assistance to use the library's new computers.

"The library has always been a central learning place for the community," said Lynn Busacca, executive director of Mason County Literacy. "This computer lab will give better access to information which will help community members in their personal, family, and professional lives."

Timberland Regional Library is one of 44 American and Canadian libraries to receive grants from the Microsoft Corporation as part of its $17 million Libraries Online! program.

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More About the Timberland Regional Library - Libraries Online! Site