Last month, we announced 14 winners of the second Knight News Challenge on Libraries at the American Library Association annual meeting. I want to share some of the issues Knight is wrestling with as we think about our work with libraries the rest of this year and into the future.
At Knight our first grants to libraries were to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 1964 and to Akron-Summit County Public Library in 1971. More recently, in 2012 we supported the launch of the Digital Public Library of America, as well as its 2015 expansion. Over last two years, we’ve focused on innovation in libraries— encouraging libraries to experiment with approaches for ensuring their relevance in a digital age. Since 2014, when we launched the Knight News Challenge on Strengthening the Internet, we’ve made $10.2 million in grants to more than 40 projects focused on libraries’ efforts to succeed in this new age.
Our thinking about what comes next reflects conversations we’ve had over the last few weeks, including discussions with a group of News Challenge advisers, a June convening of past News Challenge winners, and the American Library Association annual meeting. At the latter we organized several panels, and talked with library presidents, librarians, funders, library students, associations and library friends.