47 ideas advance in Knight News Challenge on Libraries

Above: New York Public Library reading room by Alex Proimos on Flickr.

This week we gathered 18 advisers to help review applications and select semifinalists for the 2016 Knight News Challenge on Libraries. We received 633 ideas (eight of which were private). We are excited to announce that 47 ideas are moving forward.

During the next phase, we’re asking semifinalists to review three questions for our next set of advisers to review. Each semifinalist has until Friday, April 22, to submit their answers at and refine their entries based on comments received during the first review phase. The questions are:

1.     What are the obstacles to implementing your idea, and how will you address them?

2.     How much do you think your project will cost, and what are the major expenses?

3.     How will you spread the word about your project? Who are you trying to reach?

We will notify finalists on Tuesday, May 10, and ask them to provide a draft budget for their project. After that, we will schedule in-person interviews with finalists to help us determine the group of winners that we will recommend to Knight’s board of trustees. We will announce winners on Tuesday, June 21, and they will present their projects at the American Libraries Association Annual Conference in Orlando on June 25.

This was Knight Foundation’s second News Challenge on Libraries. For this round, we asked the question: How might libraries serve 21st century information needs? Several themes emerged during our initial review, including: educational programming, the creation and use of new technology, mobile experiences, digitization and archives, professional development, open data tools and more.

During the semifinalist refinement round, we will also consider several applications for the Knight Prototype Fund, which provides $35,000 in funding over six months to test early-stage ideas.

Thanks to everyone for their hard work in submitting applications to make this challenge a success, with special thanks to our advisers who helped us review all of the submissions. We also want to thank everyone who provided feedback on the News Challenge platform. We look forward to the next phase of this challenge, to learning more about the projects and to continuing the conversation about driving transformational change within the library field.

To stay updated on our progress, please follow the Knight Blog,  join the conversation on Twitter using #newschallenge or register at to post comments and questions for the applicants.

Nina Zenni is a media innovation associate at Knight Foundation. Email her at [email protected].

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