Library Innovation the Focus of Leadership Roundtable

August 5, 2015

Contacts: Sue Cardillo
McMahon & Cardillo
412.287.6752 |

Anusha Alikhan
Director of Communications
Knight Foundation
305.908.2677 |

Library Innovation the Focus of Leadership Roundtable
Presented by Aspen Institute and Knight Foundation 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 4, 2015 – Leaders and experts from the public and private sectors will meet to discuss the changing role of libraries in American society at a roundtable discussion this month in Aspen, CO from Aug. 9-12.

An initiative of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the event will bring together thought leaders and decision-makers from government, libraries, technology, business, civil society, and academia in a roundtable and working group format.

Experts will discuss ways to rethink the role of libraries as platforms for innovation, entrepreneurial activity, knowledge creation, and learning. Additionally, the group will identify ways that libraries can restructure and evolve their work to benefit the community by supporting new jobs, economic growth, and social well-being.  A report detailing these findings and recommendations will be published later this year. 

“Innovative public libraries are a competitive advantage in an era of digital technology and collaboration; their experience in serving the information and civic needs of their communities is unrivaled,” said Amy Garmer, director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries.  “The Aspen Institute is thrilled to work alongside Knight Foundation to host this dialogue examining new thinking and new approaches to library practice and community-driven innovation.”

“The digital age has made the potential for libraries to have wide community impact stronger,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation. “The forum will explore this potential—uncovering ways that libraries are serving as hubs for information, ideas, and new opportunities.” 

Participants in the roundtable will include established leaders in the field, library heads, nonprofit directors, and government officials including: Brian Bannon, commissioner, Chicago Public Library; Jon Chambers, chief, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, Federal Communications Commission; Alberto Ibargüen, president, Knight Foundation; Mary Lee Kennedy, chief library officer, New York Public Library; Siobhan Reardon, president and director, Free Library Philadelphia; Julie Sandorf, president, Revson Foundation; Andrew Sliwinski, director of learning products, Mozilla Foundation; John Szabo, director, Los Angeles Public Library; Michelle Ha Tucker, design strategist, IDEO; Anne Wootton, co-founder and CEO, Pop Up Archive; and more. 

The event will be held from Aug. 9-12, 2015, with programming beginning on Aug. 10 at 8:45 a.m. MDT. Follow the discussion on Twitter using @AspenInstitute and @AspenCS and #libraries. 

This event forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in the future of libraries. In January 2015 Knight announced 22 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Libraries, which sought ideas to leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities. Knight also recently announced a second News Challenge on Libraries to launch in early 2016.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit 

About the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program,, addresses the societal impact of communications and information technologies, and provides a multi-disciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues.

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colo.; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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