Knight News Challenge on Libraries opens for submissions

Knight News Challenge on Libraries 2016

Want to learn more about the Knight News Challenge on Libraries?

Knight’s John Bracken hosted a reddit Ask Me Anything chat on Feb. 29. Learn more here. You can also join us for virtual office hours on Wednesday, March 16, to ask questions and talk with members of our team about the challenge. Apply at

This post has been updated. 

The Knight News Challenge on Libraries is now open for applications. Winning applicants will receive a share of $3 million for a project that answers the question: How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?

The challenge hopes to uncover projects from librarians and their collaborators as they transform to meet the needs of our communities. Knight Foundation recognizes that libraries are well positioned to build more informed and engaged communities and promote stronger democracies. This challenge is an opportunity to discover new ways the library world can meet the demands of their communities in this increasingly digital world.

The Knight News Challenge will be open to anyone working in the U.S., including public and private libraries, businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Projects have the chance to receive funding of approximately $35,000 to $500,000 for a grant period of six months to two years.

Many of the projects we fund through the challenge are those which have some early validation and require moderate to larger investments. However, we expect to fund several projects as prototypes, which will receive $35,000 in seed funding. (In the last libraries challenge, we funded prototype projects from several organizations, such as San Jose Public Library, Make it @ Your Library, and DC Public Library.)

The challenge closes at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, March 21. During April and May, Knight Foundation will be joined by a group of outside advisers who will assist us in reviewing applications.  Every applicant will be notified about the status of their application during the week of April 11.

The winners of the challenge will be announced in June 2016, in time for the American Library Association Annual Conference.

The News Challenge application, available at, consists of five questions. You’ll be able to edit your entry at any time prior to March 21 based on feedback and questions posted on the platform. Please be sure to hit the “Publish” button at the top of the submissions page. This will make your application live on the platform.

If you wish to apply privately, please answer the questions below (following the same guidelines and character limits) in a PDF document titled, “[Project Name], KNC: Libraries Closed Entry” and send to [email protected] before 5 p.m. ET on March 21.

To submit your application, you will be asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Describe your project.
  2. How does your project advance 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.

We’ve offered many opportunities for you to ask questions and learn more about the challenge. Here is some of what we have done and other opportunities to connect with us:

●      Join us for virtual office hours March 16 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. You can access this meeting online using ID 451 981 706 or participate via phone by calling (888) 240-2560.

●      Vice President of Media Innovation John Bracken answered questions on reddit for an Ask Me Anything Feb. 29. Review the conversation here

●      Knight Foundation attended SXSWedu. Here are some of the takeaways from two panels that featured winners of the previous Knight News Challenge on Libraries.  

To learn more, please visit to apply, view our challenge brief, timeline, FAQ page, and applications from the last News Challenge on Libraries. Keep an eye on Knight Blog for updates, tips for applying and promotional events. You can also reach us with questions on Twitter via @knightfdn, @heychrisbarr, or via e-mail [email protected].

Nina Zenni is a media innovation associate at Knight Foundation.