The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
On Sept. 10, we’re opening the next News Challenge, on libraries. Our 12th News Challenge, it will build upon the 19 projects we funded with $3.47 million in June through the News Challenge that sought ideas to strengthen the Internet. That work, conversations such as the ones we recently had at the Aspen Institute this month and longstanding initiatives such as the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy have affirmed for us the centrality of libraries for building and maintaining an informed citizenry.
"Share your inspiration for Knight News Challenge: Libraries" by John Bracken on Knight Blog
We’re hoping to hear ideas for leveraging the assets that libraries have built: physical spaces open to anyone; professional staff trained in how to seek, retrieve and share information; and a legacy of aiding new readers, new entrepreneurs and new Americans. In recent years we’ve seen libraries leverage the Internet and digital approaches for education, entrepreneurship, the arts and “making.” In a digital age we see libraries--public, university, archival, virtual--as key for improving Americans’ ability to know about and to be involved with what takes place around them.
We’re finalizing details of the challenge over the next two weeks. For now, a couple of points to highlight:
Earlier this month The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler described libraries as “serving nobler purposes than just amassing vampire romances. They provide equal access to knowledge, from employment services to computer training.” At Knight Foundation we see libraries as essential for ensuring access to information for all Americans in the digital era. Next week, we’ll begin to ask you for your input on how we can do that.
John Bracken is director of journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation.