By Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, Chief Strategist, OCLC; and,
Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction
The first initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program was one to improve computer technology and internet connectivity in US public libraries. And it was a total game changer for thousands of small, rural communities across the United States.
That initiative then spurred the idea for an “online portal” that would connect isolated library staff to ongoing support and resources. From there, a 2002 foundation grant to OCLC led to the launch of WebJunction on May 12, 2003, at a celebration at the Library of Congress.