Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Make the most of your submission for Knight News Challenge: Libraries

Sept. 23, 2014, 6:41 a.m., Posted by Chris Barr and John Bracken

There’s one week left to submit an idea to Knight News Challenge: Libraries, which 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?” Here are some thoughts and tips as you prepare your entry:

Richard Florida on driving success in cities

Sept. 23, 2014, 6 a.m., Posted by Richard Florida


Photo of downtown Miami by Flickr user Lonny Paul.

Knight Cities Challenge offers applicants a chance to share in $5 million by focusing on the question: "What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?” The contest will test the most innovative ideas in talent, opportunity and engagement in one or more of 26 Knight Foundation communities. Below, urbanist Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, Global Research Professor at New York University, and co-founder of The Atlantic’s CityLab, writes about talent as a driver of city success.

The Knight Cities Challenge comes at just the right time. Just as our cities are coming back, they also face new and deep challenges. 

The past couple of decades have seen a dramatic back-to-the-city movement, which Alan Ehrenhalt has dubbed a “great inversion.” As talented and ambitious people stream back to cities and urbanizing suburbs, the nature of city building and economic development has changed dramatically. No longer can places prosper by luring in headquarters or factories. The key to success is the attraction, retention and magnetization of talent. The great urbanist Jane Jacobs was the first to recognize the economic power that’s unleashed when talented people cluster in cities.

Meeting the information needs of communities at the public library

Sept. 22, 2014, 1:16 p.m., Posted by Amy Garmer


Photo illustration using photos by Flickr users Sourabh Rath and Thomas Hawk

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.