Knight Foundation Invests in Digital Public Library of America to Help Nation’s Public Libraries Serve Communities with Technology

By DPLA, February 23, 2020.
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The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a $750,000 investment in the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) 

MIAMI — February 23, 2020 — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a $750,000 investment in the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to create a national cohort of public library leaders and technologists. The group will work together to help advance libraries’ use of digital technologies.

With Knight support, DPLA will work with libraries to identify uses of technology that meet and anticipate the evolving digital needs of American library patrons. DPLA will build and convene a group of libraries that will serve as a collaborative platform for library leaders, allowing them to discuss and develop scalable solutions to common challenges.

“This support from Knight Foundation will enable DPLA to continue to help advance the work of the nation’s public libraries at a time when they are more important than ever before,” DPLA Executive Director John S. Bracken said. “We are thankful to Knight Foundation for enabling the expansion of our efforts to ensure access to information for all. Because of this support, libraries will be better able to leverage technology to serve their patrons.”

Since its 2013 launch, DPLA has made millions of photographs, maps, news footage, oral histories and artwork from 4,000 libraries, archives and museums across the country. More recently, DPLA has built DPLA Exchange, a library-controlled marketplace and platform for libraries to purchase, organize, and deliver e-books and other e-content to their patrons, including free, downloadable versions of public domain titles such as the “Mueller Report” and the “Impeachment Papers: A Compendium of Documents Related to the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.”  

“DPLA has been at the forefront of helping libraries leverage the opportunities of our digital- and mobile-first age, especially around digital rights and e-books,” said Jorge A. Martinez, Knight Foundation vice president and chief technology officer. “We look forward to advancing a strong, continued partnership between DPLA and public libraries — particularly those in Knight communities.”

“This timely grant enables us to build on the beliefs articulated in our new strategic plan,” said Denise Stephens, DPLA board chair and vice provost and university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis. “We believe in the power of digital technology to advance human knowledge, the importance of spotlighting historically marginalized narratives and in working in close collaboration with our partners.”

In advance of the 2020 Knight Media Forum, Knight and DPLA will convene a group of 60 public library leaders, philanthropists, journalists and technologists to explore the opportunities and challenges confronting libraries in the transition to a digital age. DPLA plans to continue the conversation in June at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference.

“The Digital Public Library of America is helping libraries to seize the future. We’re proud to stand with them,” said Sam Gill, Knight Foundation senior vice president and chief program officer.

Knight Foundation is one of DPLA’s founding funders; since 2012, Knight has invested more than $3.25 million in DPLA and its programs.

For more information on this initiative, or on DPLA, please email info@dp.la. 

About the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America amplifies the value of libraries and cultural organizations as Americans’ most trusted sources of shared knowledge. We do this by collaborating with partners to accelerate innovative tools and ideas that empower and equip libraries to make information more accessible. For more on our new strategy, visit strategy.dp.la.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

Contact: Kenny Ma, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, media@kf.org, 305-908-2646