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Winners of the Knight News Challenge on Libraries were announced Friday, awarding projects from across the country that create new and innovative ways to improve city libraries and communities.

Launched by the The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge will award 22 projects that “leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities.” Eight projects will receive investments of $130,000 to $600,000, and 14 early-stage ideas will receive $35,000 each through the Knight Prototype Fund.

The big win for Chicago came from Peer 2 Peer University, which won $152,000 for its project “Activating the Public Library” that will organize in-person study groups in local branches of the Chicago Public Library system.

Chicago project Maker Tool Circulating Kits by Make it @ Your Library was also recognized, winning $35,000 for creating a process for sharing maker kits between libraries.

“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.”

Here are the eight winning projects: 

Culture in Transit from Metropolitan New York Library Council: Helping more communities share their histories online by creating a mobile kit that will scan and digitize print materials for public archiving in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library. ($330,000)

Space/Time Directory from the New York Public Library: Working with local communities and technologists to turn historical maps and other library collections into an interactive directory for the exploration of New York across time periods. ($380,000)

Library for All: Digital Library for the Developing World: Making books and educational content available at libraries and schools across the developing world through a digital platform designed specifically for low-bandwidth environments and accessible on mobile devices, including low-cost tablets and $30 feature phones. ($265,000)

Open Data to Open Knowledge from City of Boston: Turning Boston’s open data collection of everything from building permits to potholes into an accessible resource by working with Boston Public Library to catalog it and make it easier for residents, researchers and public employees to navigate. ($475,000)

Online Learning at the Public Library from Peer 2 Peer University: Recognizing that lack of peer-support and face-to-face learning in open online courses can be a barrier to success, especially for newcomers, Activating the Public Library will organize in-person study groups in local branches of the Chicago Public Library system. ($152,000)

The Internet Archive: Helping people create and share global collections of cultural treasures on the Internet Archive, one of the world’s largest public libraries. ($600,000)

The Library Freedom Project: Providing librarians and their patrons with tools and information to better understand their digital rights by scaling a series of privacy workshops for librarians. ($244,700)

Measure the Future from Evenly Distributed: Helping libraries better manage one of their greatest assets – the building itself – by using open hardware to track data about its public spaces. ($130,000)

Here are the 14 prototype winners: 

BklynShare by Brooklyn Public Library (New York): Enabling people to learn new skills through a service that connects knowledge seekers with experts in their own neighborhood

Book a Nook by Harvard University metaLAB (Boston): Activating library public spaces for diverse community uses by testing a software toolkit that streamlines the exploration and reservation of physical library spaces.

The Community Resource Lab by District of Columbia Public Library (Washington, D.C.): Advancing the library as the primary anchor of an open information system that connects residents to essential health, human and social services.

Co-working at the Library by Miami Dade Public Library (Miami): Providing freelancers, entrepreneurs and innovators a collaborative space for co-working in Miami-Dade libraries.

Indie Games Licensing by Concordia University’s TAG Research Center (Montreal): Prototyping models for the licensing and circulation of independent video games at libraries.

GITenberg by Project GITenberg (Montclair, N.J., and Somerville, Mass.): Exploring collaborative cataloging for Project Gutenberg public-domain ebooks using the Web-based repository hosting service GitHub.

Journalism Digital News Archive by University of Missouri Libraries and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (Columbia, Mo.): Ensuring access to digital news content through development of a model for archiving and preserving digital content that can be used across the country.

Maker Tool Circulating Kits by Make it @ Your Library (Chicago): Sharing the tools and technology of the maker movement by prototyping an equipment lending system – a process for sharing maker kits between libraries – that builds on existing interlibrary loan frameworks.

Making the Invisible Visible by Bibliocommons (Boston): Prototyping an app to give patrons a deeper library experience based on the user’s location, interests and actions in the library.

Privacy Literacy by San Jose Public Library (San Jose, Calif.): Developing online tools which will help individuals understand privacy in the digital age and make more informed decisions about their online activity.

Information for Innovation by Kent State University Library (Kent, Ohio): Exploring ways to provide information services to local entrepreneurs and business counselors, to see what services they might need to reach their goals.

This Place Matters by Marshall University (Huntington, W.Va.): Exploring the potential of a location-aware mobile application to share African American history and link to library resources.

White Space 101 (San Francisco): Creating learning materials for libraries to explore and implement TV White Space networks to support remote library Internet hotspots that will give people wider broadband access, especially in crisis situations.

Your Next Skill by Seattle Public Library (Seattle): Helping people acquire new skills or expand their knowledge by creating a librarian-led, referral service that connects users with materials, classes and instructors that will help them meet their goals.

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