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March 23, 1993

Thatcher Foundation Awards Training Grant To the Library of Congress To Train Russian Librarians

New York, N.Y. (March 29) The Margaret Thatcher Foundation today announced a grant of $75,000 to the Library of Congress. The grant will support a training program this summer for 10 Russian librarians at the Library of Congress and selected local libraries throughout the United States. This is the first grant the Thatcher Foundation has made.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "As a result of the many political and social changes in the former Soviet Union, Russia has become acutely aware of the importance of free access to information as the basis for democratization. With the opening of many formerly secret archives, Russia is experiencing an 'information explosion.' There is an enormous need for Russian librarians to acquire new skills in the acquisition, management, and use of information resources."

In making the grant, Lady Thatcher said, "Freedom depends on free access to information. After years of channeling information to serve the needs of the state, Russian librarians need to be trained to serve the needs of their citizens."

Ten Russian librarians will be selected by the Library of Congress for the training program, with assistance from the Libraries Department of the Russian Ministry of Culture. The librarians will be selected from a broad regional spectrum, not just from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The interns will spend the first week of an eight-week training period at the Library of Congress, followed by six weeks at a library in the United States. The type of library --university, special, or school -- will depend on the Russian librarian's background and interest. All the interns will return to the Library of Congress for a final week of wrap-up discussion, program evaluation, and recommendations. The American Library Association will assist the Library of Congress in identifying American libraries to act as hosts to the interns.

Lady Thatcher established her foundation in the United States in April of last year. The goals of the foundation are to promote the acceptance of the principles of economic freedom and democracy; to assist and work with people of the former communist countries and other oppressive regimes who are striving to adopt democracy; to encourage strong transatlantic links among Britain, Europe, and North America; to foster greater contact among Western nations and those of the Middle East; and to further free trade throughout the world.

The funds that support the foundation are raised entirely through private philanthropy. The initial phase of grants will concentrate on providing scholarships to individuals throughout Eastern Europe who have shown interest in establishing free market capitalism in their part of the world.

The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is incorporated as a nonprofit educational organization in Washington, D.C., and is a qualifying nonprofit corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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PR 93-035
ISSN 0731-3527

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