Knight News Challenge: Libraries offers applicants a chance to share in $2.5 million by focusing on the question, “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” Below, Amy Garmer, director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, writes about the need for libraries to become community learning platforms.
The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy called on the nation to make every community in the United States an informed, engaged community:
America needs a vision for “informed communities,” places where the information ecology meets the personal and civic information needs of people. This means people have the information they need to take advantage of life’s opportunities for themselves and their families. It also means they can participate fully in our system of self-government, to stand up and be heard. Paramount in this vision are the critical democratic values of openness, inclusion, participation, empowerment, and the common pursuit of truth and the public interest.
This vision of a place where the information ecology meets the personal and civic information needs of people describes perfectly the public library! And it’s the starting point for the work we’re doing through the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries.