January 19, 2022

Just Announced: Winners of 2016 Knight News Challenge on Libraries

From Today’s Knight Foundation Announcement:

2016-06-22_12-39-54The 14 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Libraries announced today by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation aim to help shape the future of libraries, meeting 21st century information needs as centers for digital learning, data sharing, community connection and discovery.

The winning ideas highlight libraries as essential to addressing information challenges and creating new opportunities for communities to engage with ideas and each other. They position libraries as digital age problem-solvers tackling issues from information literacy for children, to using technology tools to make library collections more accessible and open, to giving people the resources they need to tell deeper stories about their lives and communities. Five of the projects will receive investments of between $150,000 and $393,249 each, while nine will receive $35,000 each to test early-stage ideas.

“The winners show the potential of libraries to innovate and reinvent themselves in response to ever-evolving information needs. We hope they will inspire more innovation in the space and help highlight the many ways libraries can connect communities in the digital age,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president of media innovation.

Launched in February, the Knight News Challenge asked for ideas that serve 21st century information needs, recognizing libraries as vital institutions that can play an essential role in building more informed and engaged communities.

The winning projects include:

Improve Access to Knowledge and Empower Citizens: Amplify Libraries and Communities through Wikipedia | Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) | $250,000 | Project leads: Sharon Streams and Merrilee Proffitt | Twitter: @oclc, @thinktower, @merrileeiam | Seattle Making library resources more accessible to Wikipedia editors and engaging librarians as contributors to Wikipedia through a national training program that will include community outreach to increase local information literacy.

Our Story: Content, Collections and Impact in Rural America | Historypin | $222,245 | Project lead: Jon Voss | Twitter: @Historypin, @dpla, @jonvoss, @ncschistory | San Francisco
Allowing libraries to show their impact on community well-being by measuring the effects of public library-led history, storytelling and local cultural heritage programs in three rural American communities.

Storytellers Without Borders: Activating the Next Generation of Community Journalists Through Library Engagement | Dallas Public Library | $150,000 | Project leads: Jo Giudice and Tom Huang | Twitter: @dallaslibjo, @dallaslibrary, @tomthuang, @dallasnews | Dallas
Helping high school students connect with the Dallas Public Library through a training course on digital media and journalism that builds skills and grows their awareness of the community. The project partners with The Dallas Morning News to provide students with professional mentorship and online publication opportunities.

TeleStory: Library-Based Video Visitation for Children of Incarcerated Parents | Brooklyn Public Library | $393,249 | Project leads: Nicholas Higgins, Odette Larroche-Garcia, Nick Franklin | Twitter: @BKLYNlibrary | New York
Increasing childhood literacy by offering video story time and visitation services for children of incarcerated parents in the trusted space of public libraries.

Visualizing Philanthropic Funding for Libraries | Foundation Center | $300,000 | Project lead: Amanda Dillon | Twitter: @fdncenter, @katetkacik, @gobbledyquack | New York
Helping libraries find funding opportunities, increase understanding of funding sources, and track funding trends through a data visualization tool and capacity-building training.

Full project descriptions for these five projects are found at the bottom.

The nine projects receiving $35,000 each to test ideas include:

ATL Maps | Georgia State University| $35,000 | Project lead: Brennan Collins | Twitter: @ATLStudies | Atlanta
Enabling people to use multiple library collections to tell stories about their city through open source software that combines archival maps, geospatial data and multimedia pinpoints.

Can I Fair Use It? Crowdsourcing Fair Use Knowledge | Harvard University | $35,000 | Project leads: Kyle K. Courtney and Jack Cushman | Twitter: @HarvardLIL, @KyleKCourtney | Cambridge, Massachusetts
Enabling people to share information on questions of copyright and fair use by exploring existing gaps and opportunities, and testing a new approach for libraries to connect patrons with subject experts.

Digging DEEP: A Digital Extension Education Portal for Community Growth | Pennsylvania State University | $35,000 | Project leads: Rebecca Kate Miller, Lauren Reiter, and Maria Kenney Burchill | Twitter: @psulibs, @rebeccakmiller, @mkburchill | State College, Pennsylvania.
Connecting academic libraries to local community needs by developing a portal for information, research, resources and sharing.

Free Library of Philadelphia Cultureshare | Free Library of Philadelphia | $35,000 | Project lead: Autumn McClintock | Twitter: @FreeLibrary | Philadelphia
Advancing local engagement and strengthening community connection to untapped library collections and new work from local artists by introducing subscribers to librarian-curated digital content on a monthly basis.

Future-proofing Civic Data | Temple University | $35,000 | Project lead: Joe Lucia | Twitter: @TempleLibaries, @jplucia | Philadelphia
Exploring ways libraries can support preservation and long-term access to open civic data through community information portals such as OpenDataPhilly.

Indigenous Digital Archive | The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture | $35,000 | Project lead: Anna Naruta-Moya | Twitter: @NativeDocs, @MNMF, @NMM_IndianArts, @AnnaNaruta | Santa Fe, New Mexico
Helping people more easily access and engage with mass digitized archival documents and photos through tools that enable people to annotate, tag and make searchable archival materials.

Literacy, Art, Technology and Community | Storyscape | $35,000 | Project lead: Micah Eckhardt | Twitter: @storyscape_tech, @micahrye | Cambridge, Massachusetts
Increasing literacy and engaging communities by piloting StoryScape, an interactive learning platform that allows users to create visual stories about their communities with artwork from local artists, in public libraries.

The People’s Media Collection | PhillyCAM | $35,000 | Project lead: Gretjen Clausing | Twitter: @PhillyCAM | Philadelphia
Offering media training in libraries through a program that engages community members to gather information about their communities and create broadcast content.

Unlocking Film Libraries Through Discovery and Search | Dartmouth College | $35,000 | Project leads: Mark Williams and Lorenzo Torresani | Twitter: @dartmouth | Hanover, New Hampshire
Making film and video housed in libraries more searchable and discoverable by testing software that will annotate speech, objects and actions in film.
The Knight News Challenge on Libraries launched in February 2016. In January Knight announced 17 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data which sought ideas that make data work for individuals and communities.

Full descriptions for projects that will receive investments of $150,000 to $393,249 each:

Winner: Improve access to knowledge and empower citizens: Amplify libraries and communities through Wikipedia | Seattle
Award: $250,000
Organization: Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
Project leads: Sharon Streams and Merrilee Proffitt
Twitter: @oclc, @thinktower, @merrileeiam

Wikipedia is an important information resource, attracting up to 15 percent of all internet visitors per day. Volunteer Wikipedia editors (“Wikipedians”) work collaboratively to make knowledge accessible to all. However, many quality information sources are out of reach to people due to the digital and economic divide. Public libraries provide free, open access to trusted materials, and in many cases house important local information resources. This project will launch a national training program to help make library resources more accessible to Wikipedia editors and train library staff as editors. OCLC Research Program Officer Merrilee Proffitt and the WebJunction team will work with a Wikipedian-in-Residence to build library staff skills in creating and editing Wikipedia articles. With these skills, librarians will be equipped to lead local Wikipedia outreach programs to increase information literacy and encourage community member contributions of knowledge.

Winner: Our Story: Content, Collections and Impact in Rural America | San Francisco
Award: $222,245
Organization: Historypin
Project lead: Jon Voss
Twitter: @Historypin, @dpla, @jonvoss, @ncschistory

While libraries and cultural heritage organizations are important to communities around the world, their overall impact on community well-being is difficult to track and measure. Our Story will launch a national pilot that partners with 12 rural American communities across three states in New Mexico, North Carolina and Louisiana to host public library-led history, storytelling and local cultural heritage programs, and measure the impact of these events on local communities. The project will also adapt and incorporate curriculum from Digital Public Library of America’s Public Library Partnership Project, which was created to help small public libraries build digital collections. Libraries will receive tools for running community initiatives such as sentiment-mapping, digital storytelling and exhibit creation, and librarians will receive training and lightweight methods of data collection.

Winner: Storytellers Without Borders: Activating the Next Generation of Community Journalists Through Library Engagement | Dallas
Award: $150,000
Organization: Dallas Public Library
Project leads: Jo Giudice (Dallas Public Library) and Tom Huang (The Dallas Morning News)
Twitter: @dallaslibjo, @dallaslibrary, @tomthuang, @dallasnews

Library and journalism professionals are increasingly having to adapt to an information landscape that is in constant flux. To reinforce the community’s stake in the strength of its information resources, the Dallas Public Library will host an intensive community journalism course that provides area high school students with opportunities to grow their information literacy while enhancing public discourse. Library resources and services will serve as the foundation for the course, with branch locations in diverse neighborhoods operating as research centers, technology hubs and venues for interviews with community members. Under the guidance of professional librarians and journalists from The Dallas Morning News, students will be taught journalism best practices, as well as the craft of nonfiction writing and storytelling, while gaining valuable experience using library technology and research tools.

Winner: TeleStory: Library-Based Video Visitation for Children of Incarcerated Parents | New York
Award: $393,249
Organization: Brooklyn Public Library
Project lead: Nicholas Higgins
Twitter: @BKLYNlibrary

To increase childhood literacy and provide a trusted environment in which children can connect with their incarcerated parents and other family members, Brooklyn Public Library will offer free, quality library-based video visitation services in 12 branches for families who wish to read books, sing songs, visit and stay connected. By providing multiple library access points across the area, the library will help separated families easily and frequently visit and read together, creating a bridge back to the community.

Winner: Visualizing Philanthropic Funding for Libraries | New York
Award: $300,000
Organization: Foundation Center
Project lead: Amanda Dillon
Twitter: @fdncenter, @katetkacik, @gobbledyquack

While there is a long history of philanthropic funding for libraries in the United States, most public libraries rely on government funding for financial support. Local funding accounts for nearly 85 percent of public library funding, and state funding has decreased nearly 43 percent over the past decade. Foundation Center will develop a data visualization and mapping tool, along with training, for libraries to find and track funding opportunities and increase understanding of funding for both libraries and library supporters. The tool will allow users to search and see funding sources at the national, state and local levels and answer key questions about regional funding trends. Data visualizations such as maps, network connections and partnership pathways will highlight key networks of funders and recipients as well as individual grants. Foundation Center will also deliver grant-seeking training, in-person and online, to build libraries’ capacity to effectively tap new funding sources. Foundation Center will partner with the Digital Public Library of America to leverage its extensive combined national networks to disseminate this tool and training.

2015 Winners

Video: Recipients of Knight News Challenge for Libraries Provide Updates at ALA Midwinter Meeting 2016

Winners of Knight News Challenge on Libraries Announced, More than $3 Million Going to 22 Innovative Projects (January 30, 2015)

See Also: California and Nevada State Libraries Co-Recipients of $470,000 Knight News Challenge on Data Grant

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.