The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
In September we launched the 12th Knight News Challenge, on libraries, asking the question, “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” Today we’re announcing 22 winners of that challenge, awarding the recipients a share of $3 million for their ideas.
"Knight News Challenge on Libraries awards $3 million for innovative ideas" - Press release, 01/30/2015
Building on previous experience working with libraries, this challenge has helped us learn a great deal about libraries and the challenges they face while serving the information needs of their communities. Several themes emerged among the winners, including focusing on digital rights and privacy; history and digital preservation; the maker movement and open data.
We look forward to learning more as the projects develop and to applying that knowledge to our work more broadly. Additionally, we have experienced firsthand the enthusiasm inside and outside of libraries for making them vibrant civic institutions in a digital age.
The winners of the Knight News Challenge:
Online Learning @ The Public Library
Peer 2 Peer University
$152,000 | Philipp Schmidt and Carl Ruppin
Making open online courses easier to access and complete for diverse members of the community by organizing in-person study groups for patrons in Chicago Public Library branch libraries.
Culture in Transit
Metropolitan New York Library Council
$330,000 | Anne Karle-Zenith
Helping more communities share their histories online by creating a mobile kit that will scan and digitize print materials for public archiving in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library.
The Internet Archive
$600,000 | Alexis Rossi and Brewster Kahle
Helping people create and share global collections of cultural treasures on the Internet Archive, one of the world’s largest public libraries.
The Library Freedom Project
$244,700 | Alison Macrina
Providing librarians and their patrons with tools and information to better understand their digital rights by scaling a series of privacy workshops for librarians.
Making educational content available at libraries and schools across the developing world through a digital platform designed specifically for low-bandwidth environments.
Measure the Future
$130,000 | Jason Griffey
Helping libraries better manage one of their greatest assets – the building itself – by using open hardware to track data about its public spaces.
Open Data to Open Knowledge
City of Boston
$475,000 | Jascha Franklin-Hodge
Turning Boston’s open data collection into an accessible resource by working with Boston Public Library to catalog it and introduce it to the public.
New York Public Library
$380,000 | Matthew Knutzen, David Riordan, Ben Vershbow
Working with local communities and technologists to turn historical maps and other library collections into an interactive directory for the exploration of New York across time periods.
Prototype Fund awards
Fourteen winners of the News Challenge will receive prototype funding. These projects will be awarded $35,000, receive training on design and innovation methodology and rapidly iterate on their ideas over a six-month period. (To be part of the next Knight Prototype Fund cohort, apply by Feb. 16) The winners of prototype awards are:
BklynShare by Brooklyn Public Library (New York; project lead: Michael Fieni; Twitter: @bklynlibrary): Enabling people to learn new skills through a service that connects knowledge seekers with experts in their own neighborhood
Book a Nook by Harvard University metaLAB (Boston; project lead: Jeffrey Schnapp; Twitter: @metalabharvard, @berkmancenter, @jaytiesse): Activating library public spaces for diverse community uses by testing a software toolkit that streamlines the exploration and reservation of physical library spaces.
The Community Resource Lab by District of Columbia Public Library (Washington, D.C.; project lead: Meaghan O’Connor; Twitter: @dcpl): Advancing the library as the primary anchor of an open information system that connects residents to essential health, human and social services.
Co-working at the Library by Miami Dade Public Library (Miami; project lead: Liz Pearson; Twitter: @MDPLS): Providing freelancers, entrepreneurs and innovators a collaborative space for co-working in Miami-Dade libraries.
Indie Games Licensing by Concordia University’s TAG Research Center (Montreal, project lead: Olivier Charbonneau; Twitter: @culturelibre): Prototyping models for the licensing and circulation of independent video games at libraries.
GITenberg by Project GITenberg (Montclair, N.J., and Somerville, Mass.; project leads: Eric Hellman and Seth Woodworth; Twitter: @GITenberg): Exploring collaborative cataloging for Project Gutenberg public-domain ebooks using the Web-based repository hosting service GitHub.
Journalism Digital News Archive by University of Missouri Libraries and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (Columbia, Mo.; project lead: Edward McCain; Twitter: @e_mccain): Ensuring access to digital news content through development of a model for archiving and preserving digital content that can be used across the country.
Maker Tool Circulating Kits by Make it @ Your Library (Chicago; project leads: Katy Hite, Amy Killebrew, Elizabeth Ludemann, Allison Parker, Vicki Rakowski; Twitter: @MakeItLib): Sharing the tools and technology of the maker movement by prototyping an equipment lending system - a process for sharing maker kits between libraries - that builds on existing interlibrary loan frameworks.
Making the Invisible Visible by Bibliocommons (Boston; project lead: Iain Lowe Twitter: @bibliocommons, @ilowelife): Prototyping an app to give patrons a deeper library experience based on the user’s location, interests and actions in the library.
Privacy Literacy by San Jose Public Library (San Jose, Calif.; project leads: Erin Berman and Jon Worona; Twitter: @SanJoseLibrary): Developing online tools which will help individuals understand privacy in the digital age and make more informed decisions about their online activity.
Information for Innovation by Kent State University Library (Kent, Ohio; project lead: Karen McDonald; Twitter: @KentState_LIB): Exploring ways to provide information services to local entrepreneurs and business counselors, to see what services they might need to reach their goals.
This Place Matters by Marshall University (Huntington, W.Va.; project lead: Monica Brooks; Twitter: @MUPlaceMatters): Exploring the potential of a location-aware mobile application to share African American history and link to library resources.
White Space 101 (San Francisco; project lead: Don Means; Twitter: @donmeans): Creating learning materials for libraries to explore and implement TV White Space networks to support remote library Internet hotspots that will give people wider broadband access, especially in crisis situations.
Your Next Skill by Seattle Public Library (Seattle; project lead: Jennifer Yeung; Twitter: @splbuzz): Helping people acquire new skills or expand their knowledge by creating a librarian-led, referral service that connects users with materials, classes and instructors that will help them meet their goals.
A special thanks to everyone who helped make this challenge possible. As with other challenges, we relied on the expertise of outside advisers as part of the review process. For this challenge 27 advisers helped us read all of the entries and review the semifinalists. Additionally, I would like to thank everyone who submitted ideas and who participated on the challenge platform. We are inspired by the energy in the library community and look forward to being involved in innovative work coming from these important civic institutions.