Your work is vital. We are raising funds to support it.
I have some questions about the Microsoft Donation Program for public libraries. I volunteer with 3 small public libraries in a rural area, all of which use TechSoup and will need to move to Windows 10 and Office 2016. My questions concern the restrictions on public libraries:"Public libraries may request donated Microsoft products for public access computers only."I am seeking specifics on the meaning of "public access". Obviously, the broader the meaning of the term, the less impact on the budget to buy the new software.At the 3 libraries: - one has 3 computers, 2 are for public use - another library has 6 computers, 2 are for public use - the last has ~ 40 computers, ~25 are for public useI'm seeking clarification on some of the following uses:1) We have one computer dedicated for public email: no web surfing. (Email-only is so tourists can quickly check email while using the library for a pit stop.) Seems like public access to me, although it does have the web restriction.2) We have 4 computers for the public to use to access the card catalog. No email nor web surfing, but they are intended for the public to use. Also seems like public access to me....3) We have a computer that runs the microfilm reader, where the public can research old newspapers that have been copied to microfilm. No email nor web nor catalog. But it's for public use: seems like public access to me....4) We have 10 laptops that are used for programs that the library presents to the public. They are only used for some programs, but again it seems like public access to me....5) We have a Media Room, where there is a computer and other equipment to allow folks to convert media to digital formats (audio tapes to MP3, video tape to what-ever). Folks must reserve the space; obviously no email or surfing (except as part of the media conversion activity). But since it's available to the public, seems like public access to me....6) We have a community room with a computer, a projector, a DVD player, etc, where groups can hold meetings and give presentations. The room must be reserved to use it, but it's for the community to use, so it seems like public access to me....7) We have 2 computers dedicated as public self-check stations (to check-out material without having to use the front desk.) Special dedicated application to run the equipment, but again, seems like public access to me....Another part of the Microsoft restrictions says:"The software can only be used on public access computers or computers used to manage the public access computers or the library's public access program."The computer I use to manage all computers obviously is "used to manage the public access computers". But it is also used for several other things and by other volunteers and staff. Does that computer qualify to use donated software?I hope someone can help us better understand these restrictions on pubic library use of Microsoft products. We do appreciate the fact that Microsoft does offer these donations. And I am hoping that "public access" is a very broad term.It's unfortunate for us that we cannot use the donations on all computers. From looking at the Microsoft documents, it appears that we would have to purchase software for the non-qualifying computers under the Microsoft Educational program: does someone know if that is correct?....Thanks for any help with these questions.
In a nutshell, if your library has public access computers, it is eligible to receive Microsoft donations. The donor's goal is to support libraries that offer computer access to the public, not to restrict on which computers the software can be installed.
I hope this helps to clarify but please reply if you have more questions.
Thank you for responding.My concerns are based on the following items in the Microsoft Software Donation Restrictions: Nonprofits and public libraries only: - Donated products are available to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) designation and to public libraries. Public libraries must either have valid 501(c)(3) nonprofit status or be listed in the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) database. - Public libraries without a 501(c)(3) designation may request donated products through this program only for use on public access computers or on computers that are used to directly manage either the public access computers or the library's public access program.None of the 3 public libraries has 501(c)(3) designation: they are part of the local government. I.e. most of their budget comes from taxes. (The rest is from donations, grants, Friends, fund-raising, etc that bridges the gap between what's in the Town budget for the library and what's needed.) I assume that many public libraries are not formal 501(c)(3), but rather are part of the local town/county/region government: taxpayer money keeps them open and public.The second item makes it clear that public libraries without a 501(c)(3) have restrictions. So that is why I would like clarification on the detailed meaning of "public access".
Public libraries are eligible to receive Microsoft donations if they provide computers for public/community/member use. It's really as simple as that.The goal of this program is to specifically support libraries that offer that access. Most do, but there are some types, bookmobiles, for example, that generally don't. I am sure that Microsoft would appreciate your desire to make sure the donations are properly used, but based on what you've shared I can't see anything that would be considered ineligible.
I know some of the language used in the program rules can seem more complicated than it is. I hope this helps you feel more comfortable with requesting donations.
Good: I was hoping that our view of public use was consistent with public access....
One further clarification: are staff-only computers excluded from using Microsoft donations? I'm thinking of the computers on staff desks in offices as well as certain staff-only computers (check-out, cataloging, etc)
Staff computers are not excluded. :)
Close this window