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EDUCATION REPORT- International Children’s Digital Library - 2004-06-16

Broadcast: June 17, 2004

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Looking for a good children's book? Internet users can find hundreds of them. These books are from around the world. And they are free of charge. The project is called the International Children’s Digital Library.

The goal is to offer electronic versions of more than ten-thousand children's books in at least one-hundred languages. We will give the address of the Web site at the end of this report. So get ready to write it down.

Project developers have been working with children to design easy ways to search the collection and read the books. An image of each page appears on the computer. Users can also print copies on paper.

Officials say the project has been designed for two main groups of users. The first is children between the ages of three and thirteen, along with their teachers and parents. The second group is researchers in the area of children’s literature.

The books chosen for the collection are meant to help children understand the world in which they live. Literature is one way to teach young people about new ideas. The idea behind the collection is that an interesting story not only helps children understand who they are. It may also influence their desire to explore the world.

Project organizers say they have chosen books that show the similarities and differences in ways of life around the world. The aim is to create a greater understanding of other people's cultures and beliefs. The International Children’s Digital Library is also an attempt to use technology to strengthen libraries around the world.

The digital library is a project of the University of Maryland and the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is building an electronic library of Internet sites and other digital collections as a cultural record.

The children's library project is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Library of Congress and other organizations are also involved. The first materials appeared in two-thousand-two.

The goal is to have all ten-thousand books online in two-thousand-seven. So far, the collection contains more than five hundred books.

Here is the address of the International Children’s Digital Library: Again,

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Steve Ember.