Libraries to expand digital services

By Staff

Edmonton – New Canadians and those interested in language will soon have some extra help learning English, French and other languages when some innovative software comes into play at more Alberta libraries.

The Alberta government announced Thursday it was providing a one-time grant of $790,000 to the Alberta Library (TAL) and the Alberta Public Library Electronic Network (APLEN) to help bring the province’s libraries to the forefront of technology through the use of leading-edge language learning software.

Central to the initiative is licensing for Mango software, a language learning program that according to the manufacturer teaches practical conversation and cultural awareness for the world’s most popular languages.

“We are dedicated to opening doors, opening minds and opening global access to all Albertans through our commitment to public libraries,” said Hector Goudreau, Minister of Municipal Affairs in a release. “Libraries are crucial to building knowledge and accessing key technology.”

Any library that is a member of TAL will have access to the enhanced digital resources. The digital licensing grant is over and above the province’s ongoing funding for TAL and APLEN.

More than $32 million was allocated in the 2011-12 budget for public library service.

“This grant underscores Alberta’s commitment to libraries as the cornerstone of progressive and vibrant communities,” Goudreau said. “Their electronic services are at the heart of a prosperous Alberta.”

Locally, the Morinville Public Library has seen an increase in interest in electronic books and other non-book electronic technologies over the past couple of years.

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