July 1, 2008
The American Library Association (ALA) selected the County Library’s Gateway/Al Bawaba Project as the nation's most innovative training program for information technology.
The program won the 2008 ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award. Principal Librarian Jacqueline Ayala accepted the national award on behalf of the County during the American Library Association Annual Conference held on July 1.
The Gateway Project was developed for Middle Eastern immigrants to take advantage of the Library’s free computer classes in their native Arabic language.
Arabic-speaking instructors were trained to lead the free computer classes, which were offered as an eight-week series. The instructors led multiple series of classes on the topics of basic e-mail and Internet use.
The classes have taken place in three library branches.
The project, which was named “Gateway” (“Al Bawaba” in Arabic) to reflect that the public library is a gateway to learning, literacy, education and enlightenment, was funded through a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the California State Library.