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Through Libraries Online!, the Detroit Public Library has received a technology grant worth $500,000 to the Detroit Public Library. This gift will help to bring the Internet to Detroit libraries and provide software and interactive media titles for all branches. In addition, Microsoft's support will provide computer hardware, technical assistance and support for the library system. Microsoft's assistance will continue as Detroit's information-technology plans grow.

An additional software grant of $1.5 million will go to Focus: HOPE, a metropolitan Detroit civil and human rights organization that provides high-tech manufacturing training and community services. The donation will allow Focus: HOPE to acquire operating systems for servers and personal computers, systems management and office automation tools, and consulting services. The gift announced today supplements the $1.5 million that Microsoft donated to the group last year, bringing the total donation to $3 million over two years.

"Information can be a tremendous equalizer, and librarians are profoundly aware that access to resources in any community is not always equal," said Dr. Maurice Wheeler, director of the Detroit library system. "The Detroit Public Library is making strides in addressing the disparity of access to electronic resources in the community. With the opening of this laboratory and others planned for the future, the Internet and electronic access will be as close as the nearest Detroit Public Library branch."

The Detroit Public Library, founded in 1865, has more than 5 million items, including books, magazines, maps and government publications. The Main Library was designated a state resource in 1976 and serves the citizens of Michigan. Twenty-four branch libraries serve those who live, work and attend school in Detroit. In addition, the Detroit public library provides specialized library services through its Service to Shut-Ins and Retirees, a bookmobile for the elderly and physically challenged; the Municipal Reference Library, serving city and county employees; and a number of special collections and services available to all users.

Founded in 1968 as an interracial movement of volunteers, Focus: HOPE's ( 850 colleagues and 47,000 volunteers, participants and contributors are inspired by this mission statement: "Recognizing the dignity and beauty of every person, we pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice. And to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection. Black and white, yellow, brown and red, from Detroit and its suburbs, of every economic status, national origin and religious persuasion, we join in this covenant (adopted March 8, 1968)."

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