Library For All Receives $265,000 Grant for Knight News Challenge Award for Innovation

Library For All Receives Knight News Challenge Award for Innovation

$265,000 Knight Foundation Grant to Support Cloud-based, Educational E-Library for Low Bandwidth Environments

New York, NY – January 30, 2015 – Library For All, an education nonprofit that provides tech-based solutions for those with limited access to educational materials in developing countries, was named a winner today of the Knight News Challenge on Libraries. The $265,000 grant will support Library For All’s work to make educational content available through a cloud-based platform designed specifically for low-bandwidth environments.

Libraries have been a vital part of our communities for centuries—as keepers of public knowledge, spaces for human connection, and educators for the next generation of learners. Knight Foundation, the leading funder of journalism and media innovation, put out a call for projects that help carry the values of libraries into the future. The Knight News Challenge on Libraries is funding breakthrough ideas that leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities. More information is available at www.newschallenge.org

“There is a growing demand for libraries to evolve their role and become more dynamic, living platforms, responsive to community needs,” said John S. Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation. “The winners are working to reinvent the ways in which people experience the library, and providing citizens with the tools and information they require to contribute and strengthen our democracy.”

Library For All was selected because in areas where books are scarce but mobile networks are growing, the cloud-based library is a simple yet innovative solution to the critical need for educational materials. The Library is designed to work in low-bandwidth environments, making educational content avialable via existing mobile phone networks. The platform is easy to use and device agnostic, operating on low-cost tablets and soon to be available on PCs and $30 feature phones. This technology-based solution is less expensive than building and maintaining physical libraries, and can more nimbly address local needs. Library For All curates culturally relevant content in local languages.

“We share Knight Foundation’s vision of bringing libraries into the future and are proud to take part in the Challenge on Libraries. Library For All’s tech-based solution will bring critical educational resources beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar library to the cloud, making resources available on a vast scale,” said Rebecca McDonald, Founder and CEO of Library For All. “By accessing our cloud-based library from the palm of their hand, students and teachers are leapfrogging traditional boundaries and are better able to become informed and engaged members of the community.”

With the Knight grant, Library For All will build a local team in Haiti, grow its user base, and expand its already rich collection of materials. Specifically, 30,000 students in Haiti and 1,000 students in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will gain access to over 1,000 curated, relevant titles in the Library. An additional 100,000 users will be able to access the Library on low­cost feature phones starting in spring 2015. Approximately 50% of content is from Open Educational Resources (including translations into local languages) and 50% from local and international publishers. The grant will also cover monitoring and evaluation to support the development of an effective blueprint model, which will allow NGOs, schools and governments in developing countries to partner with Library For All to bring the library to their communities.

About Library For All

Library For All is a nonprofit organization that exists to unlock knowledge for those without access to educational materials in developing countries. To achieve this, Library For All has developed an application that delivers e-books to people living in developing countries at a much lower cost than building physical libraries. The content is made available on low-cost devices such as tablets, mobile phones and PCs. Library For All has launched in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has plans to expand into Rwanda in 2015. www.libraryforall.org

 About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

Contact:

Isabel Sheinman, Director of Business Development, Library For All, 917-331-0018, Isabel@libraryforall.org

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org