June 21, 1999 Library of Congress To Open National Digital Library Learning Center

Microsoft Gift Enables Center to Serve as Training Facility for Educators in the Use of Library's Digitized Sources

Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress, (202) 707-9217 [email protected] | Audrey Waters, Edelman Public Relations, (202) 326-1781 [email protected]

The National Digital Library Learning Center, a facility that will be used to train teachers in the classroom use of the Library of Congress's American Memory historical collections, opens today in the Madison Building. American Memory, a project of the Library's National Digital Library (NDL) Program, makes available to students, teachers and lifelong learners more than 2 million items of intellectual content at www.loc.gov.

A gift of $388,000 from Microsoft funded the center's renovation and software upgrade. The center now has a 16-seat classroom with a large-screen projection system that will be used to bring educators from across the country to the Library for training. The center's 45-seat theater has a new large-screen monitor for demonstrations; a video teleconferencing area has also been added. A hands-on area allows visitors to use the American Memory materials during their tours of the center.

"The Library is grateful to Microsoft for supporting our efforts to make our on-line collections as useful to students and educators as possible," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Microsoft's gift gives the Library a much-needed facility to train educators on the use of primary sources in the classroom."

"Teachers and libraries are wonderful sources of information and inspiration," said Bob Herbold, Microsoft's chief operating officer and executive vice president. "Microsoft is pleased to help make the Library's extraordinary collections more accessible to educators and their students."

The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program has been a leader in providing educational content on the Internet through its American Memory historical collections. The collections are used by educators and students to put them in touch with primary sources that increase critical thinking skills. The new National Digital Library Learning Center will serve as the Library of Congress's facility for instructing teachers on how to present these materials to students in the classroom. The center is also used to show to the public the Library's use of technology.

With more than 50 collections available, American Memory is one of the most visited sites on the Internet by students, teachers and lifelong learners who are seeking intellectual content relating to American history. The more than 2 million items -- in all formats -- currently available cover topics ranging from the Civil War and the papers of U.S. presidents to baseball cards and dance manuals to documents relating to the women's suffrage and civil rights movements.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company (www.microsoft.com External) offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use.


PR 99-086
ISSN 0731-3527