Insights

Informed and Engaged Communities: The Critical Impact of Libraries on Civic Life

Posted by Lilly Weinberg on March 01, 2017 at 11:53 AM

At the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we work to promote informed and engaged communities in a variety of sectors, including journalism, technology, and the arts. I work directly in 18 of the 26 Knight communities, places where I see the critical impact libraries can have on civic...


Your Local Library: The Ultimate Community Engagement Center

Posted by Kirsten Wyatt on February 16, 2017 at 11:12 AM

*Editor’s note: This blog is written in response to the recent Aspen Institute, International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and the Public Library Association (PLA) survey analysis, “Role of Libraries in Advancing Community Goals.”  The analysis is based on data from the “Local Libraries Advancing Community Goals, 2016”, a...


Libraries: The Fabric of a Thriving Community

Posted by Tre Maxie on February 01, 2017 at 11:50 AM

Libraries have the power to educate, convene, preserve, inspire, and connect. Libraries can be more powerful now more than ever. In Seattle, we opened the public library auditorium as a free, non-alcoholic venue to watch the Seattle Seahawks play in the Superbowl game on our big screen. We drew hundreds...


The Role of Libraries in Advancing Community Goals

Posted by Amy Garmer on January 17, 2017 at 2:14 PM

Today, The Aspen Institute, in partnership with International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and the Public Library Association (PLA), released Local Libraries Advancing Community Goals, 2016, a report detailing results of a nationwide survey of nearly 2,000 chief administrative offices of local governments focused on the evolving role of public libraries...


Reaching the Rest of Us: Public Libraries Using TV WhiteSpace to Connect Next Billion(s)

Posted by Don Means on January 12, 2017 at 8:15 AM

In the context of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), the World Bank/IMF, in partnership with the United States State Department, launched the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) in October 2015 with the goal of bringing the next 1.5 billion people online by 2020. At the...


Future of Libraries: 2016 in Review and 2017 Preview

Posted by Amy Garmer on December 22, 2016 at 8:59 AM

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries launched a series of initiatives in 2016 that are creating new opportunities and resources for transforming public libraries. As the year comes to a close, we are grateful to all those library and community champions who have worked with us over the...

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Smart Libraries: Community Development Through Innovation and Partnerships

Posted by Chip Weston on September 12, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Technologies that have been maturing over the last decades are no longer on the horizon but on our doorsteps. They are being deployed by the thousands and portend substantial changes in just about every aspect of our lives. Massive amounts of data are generated and self-learning, self-improving artificial intelligence is...


Need to Get Wallet-Wise? A Librarian Knows How to Help

Posted by Carol Kando-Pineda on June 01, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Book lovers have always flocked to their local library to pick up a favorite classic or the latest bestseller. But today’s patrons also want and need a whole lot more. Libraries are a community’s most trusted source for all kinds of information, guidance, and connection. Through their partnerships, librarians reach well...


All Hail Our Library Robot Overlords

Posted by Tom Bruno on May 05, 2016 at 11:14 AM

In October 2014 The Westport Library introduced robots Nancy and Vincent to our MakerSpace, generating a great deal of interest not only in library circles but in the international media as well. The two diminutive humanoid Nao Robots, made by the French company Aldebaran Robotics and purchased at a cost...