Libraries Initiative

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Ongoing Evaluation
Publication Date
Engaged Communities


To strengthen the role of public libraries in Knight communities in providing connectivity and internet access for residents and promoting community engagement. The initiative supports libraries to improve their technology infrastructure, create and expand wi-fi access and provide digital training to users.


Key Questions

  • To what extent have public libraries been able to sustain and/or improve connectivity and internet access in Knight Communities?
  • What challenges – internal and external – have public libraries faced in executing their projects?
  • To what extent have public libraries been able to effectively leverage local community partners to sustain their efforts?
  • Which library and community factors resulted in the greatest success in enhancing the role of public libraries as a key hub for community engagement?


Approach: The assessment partners will conduct interviews with library directors and community partners, as well as Knight program directors in the library communities. The evaluation will review grants documents and other secondary data sources on public libraries. The purpose of the assessment is to document and understand the outcomes associated with the individual grants as well as to generate insights about the local landscape in each community and the challenges and opportunities this presents for enhancing the role of public libraries and digital community centers.

Assessment Partner: University of Washington Information School and OCLC.


The project launched in December 2010 and is scheduled to generate findings by June 2011.

About our Engaged Communities focus area

We invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

About our Grant assessments methodology

As part of our grant-making process, we work with grantees to establish how to measure and track their projects.  We also partner with grantees and others to conduct third-party evaluations.