February 10, 1999 AT&T Gives $3.5 Million Grant to National Digital Library Program

Program's Largest Corporate Grant Will Make Rare Materials from Collections of Bell and Morse Available On-Line

Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Jeff Roberts, AT&T Foundation (212) 387-6289 | Clarissa Post, Resnicow Schroeder Associates for AT&T (212) 595-1439

AT&T is donating $3.5 million to the Library of Congress National Digital Library (NDL) Program to support continuation of this initiative to bring rare and important materials to citizens everywhere through the Internet. A portion of the grant, the largest corporate donation to the NDL Program, will go toward digitizing materials from the Library of Congress's collections of Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel F.B. Morse, including Bell's sketch of the first telephone and Morse's first telegraphic message.

The AT&T grant completes the Library's effort to raise $45 million in private money for the NDL Program. The U.S. Congress has committed $15 million in appropriations to the program, for a $60 million total over five years.

"We gratefully acknowledge AT&T's role in supporting education and its commitment to the Library's goal of making its rare and important American historical collections available to anyone with Internet access," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "AT&T's generous gift will help the Library continue the crucial, yet expensive, task of placing its collections on-line. We believe that the National Digital Library is an initiative both Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel Morse would applaud, given their interest in technology to facilitate the exchange of information across great distances."

"We are pleased to be part of this landmark initiative," said C. Michael Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AT&T. "AT&T is proud to contribute to the technology that brings such rare source material to the rest of the country and to the world. It's exciting to know that the rich resources of the Library of Congress will be within the reach of schoolchildren and families everywhere."

Specifically, AT&T will support the digitization of the Alexander Graham Bell Family Collection and the Samuel F.B. Morse Collection. These electronic materials will be added to the more than 40 collections already available from American Memory, a project of the NDL Program. This popular site can be accessed at www.loc.gov/. Approximately 1,400 items from the Bell Collection are already on-line.

AT&T's grant is the largest corporate gift to the Library's vast on-line program, now receiving an average of 3 million hits per day. It furthers the corporation's longstanding commitment to education and the company's support of efforts to use technology to enhance teaching and learning.

From the Bell Collection, sketches for the first telephone and Bell's laboratory notebooks and journals will be digitized. From the Morse Collection, the first telegraph tape and personal papers will be accessible to users everywhere. The majority of the grant will go toward overall NDL Program development.

The goal of the National Digital Library Program is to make freely available over the Internet millions of items by the year 2000, in collaboration with other institutions. AT&T's contribution helps the Library meet that goal by providing funds for digitizing the Library of Congress's unique American historical collections for access on the World Wide Web.

The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, with more than 115 million items, including the papers of 23 U.S. presidents. Its collections are in nearly every language and format -- from Chinese woodblock prints to compact disks. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity and will celebrate its Bicentennial in 2000 (www.loc.gov/bicentennial).

AT&T's commitment to education extends back to the founding of the company and Alexander Graham Bell's work with the deaf. Today, education is the largest area of AT&T's philanthropic giving. In 1998 alone, support for education accounted for more than 50 percent of the AT&T Foundation's cash grants and product donations, totaling more than $30 million. Other segments of AT&T's philanthropy include giving in the areas of civic and community service as well as the arts and culture. More than $61 million in cash grants and product donations was awarded in 1998 in these three areas. Through the AT&T Learning Network, educators have access to on-line training and resources to effectively use technology in the classroom and encourage lifelong learning.

AT&T is soon expected to complete its merger with Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), one of the world's largest cable and telecommunications companies. TCI owns and operates cable television systems and provides information and entertainment programming to 12 million homes across the country. TCI has its own rich history of giving to educational causes. Through the TCI Education Project, the company has spent more than $50 million over the past decade. As part of the cable industry's renowned Cable in the Classroom initiative, the TCI Education Project provides cable access to commercial-free educational and general programming, plus teacher training and curriculum support for schools throughout the United States.


PR 99-015
ISSN 0731-3527