Knight News Challenge on Libraries opens for applications Feb. 24

technology / Article

January 9, 2016 by Nina Zenni


We’re at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting this weekend, where we are announcing that the next Knight News Challenge will open for ideas on Feb. 24. Our question: How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?

Challenge winners will receive a share of $3 million in funding to develop their projects.

In the fall of 2014, we launched our first Knight News Challenge on Libraries. We discovered  a broad range of projects and teams focusing on making libraries more vibrant members of their  communities. For centuries, libraries have been keepers of public knowledge, spaces for human connection, and educators for the next generations of learners. For this challenge, we hope to unearth new ways to advance libraries to meet the needs of their communities and carry these ideals into the future.

Here’s what you need to know before the challenge opens:

  • We are interested in ideas from anyone in the U.S., including individuals, librarians, governments, nonprofits, new and old organizations, educators, universities, and businesses.
  • The challenge will open for submissions 8 a.m. ET on Feb 24. and will close at 5 p.m. ET on March 21.
  • A select number of projects will be considered for funding through the Knight Prototype Fund; we’ll notify you if that happens.
  • To submit your idea, you will be asked to answer these five questions:
    1. Describe your project.
    2. How does your project advance or affect the library field?
    3. Who is the audience and what are their information needs?
    4. Please list your team members and their qualifications.
    5. Please provide your organization name and its city and state.
  • The main stages of the challenge are:
    • Entries: Feb. 24 - March 21. Apply at
    • Review Phase I: March 22 - April 13. A team of initial readers will review the ideas and help us select semifinalists.
    • Semifinalist Refinement: April 14 - April 22. We will notify semifinalists and ask them to provide more information.
    • Review Phase II: April 25 - May 4.
    • Winners: We will interview finalists and announce the winners during summer 2016. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be traveling around the country to promote the challenge and holding virtual office hours so that you can ask questions. Stay tuned for details. 

Please visit starting Feb. 24 to apply, give feedback and ask questions, and take a look at the entries. Follow #newschallenge on Twitter or sign up here for Knight News Challenge updates. Please visit our FAQ page if you have more questions.

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

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