John S. Bracken of the Knight Foundation

February 2016 Business Meeting Round-Up

CALL held its February Business Meeting at Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron Ave., on February 25, 2016. President Julie Pabarja called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. She thanked the Meeting Committee Co-Chairs, Eugene Giudice and Larissa Sullivan – who unfortunately were unable to attend the meeting. There were seventy-six registered attendees for the meeting.

New CALL Members

Julie Pabarja welcomed the new members of CALL:

Michelle Hook Dewey, University of Illinois College of Law

Kayla Kotila, Schiff Hardin LLP

Elizabeth Clower, Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Mary Alice Kenny, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Candace Hall Slaminski, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Christy Meredith, BuckleySandler LLP

Scott Petersen, Dykema Gossett PLLC

President’s Announcements

Julie Pabarja
Julie Pabarja

Julie reminded members to vote in the CALL Board election, which is now open. If you have not received voting information with log-in details from AALL, please contact JoAnn Hounshell. Photos and biographies of the candidates are available on the CALL website. Julie reviewed the list of candidates and asked those in attendance to stand:

Vice-President/President Elect:

Joanne Kiley, International Legal Technology Association

Clare Willis, Chicago-Kent College of Law Library


Tom Gaylord, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Library

Jill Meyer, Dykema


Therese Clarke Arado, Northern Illinois University College of Law Library

Lindsey Carpino, Sidley Austin

AALL Annual Meeting Announcements

Robert Martin

Robert Martin, CALL Board Director, spoke about CALL sponsoring an event during the AALL Annual Meeting this July. Robert asked what the membership would be interested in – an educational speaker, entertainment? Robert asked that members send any ideas or suggestions to him.

Megan Butman, LAC Co-Chair (AALL Local Arrangements Committee), announced that the LAC website is up and running thanks to the work of Jesse Bowman. Please visit the site – especially to volunteer at the LAC Hospitality Booth.


Carolyn HerschCarolyn Hersch, LAC Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Volunteer Subcommittee, made a request for volunteers for the LAC Booth and for hosts of dine-arounds. Currently, hosts are needed for three dine-arounds. The host helps organize visitors and direct them to the restaurant. Dine-around attendees, including the hosts, are responsible for the cost of their meals.

Meeting Speaker: John S. Bracken

John Bracken

CALL Vice-President Todd Ito introduced John Bracken.

John Bracken is the Vice President of the Media Innovation Program at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In this role, he supervises the Knight News Challenge and the Knight Prototype Fund. He joined the Knight Foundation in 2010, having previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also serves on the board of the Illinois Humanities Council.

Mr. Bracken began with an overview of the Knight Foundation. This organization takes a different approach toward philanthropy in order to adapt and respond to the increasingly democratized world of information. In order to apply this approach, the organization realized it needed to get away from their office towers and traditional methods of funding at a distance and be more responsive to specific needs of communities and organizations.

John Bracken

The Knight Foundation focuses on three main areas: journalism and storytelling; the arts; and emerging opportunities in eight cities (Chicago is not currently one of these). The journalism and storytelling focus grew out of the Knight Brothers business in print newspapers – the company owned the largest group of newspapers in the U.S. for much of the 20th century. The Knights Arts Challenge focuses on people who don’t typically approach foundations for grants. The Challenge creates mechanisms for those people to share their ideas which can then be brought to the Foundation for funding opportunities.

The Knight Foundation also supports The Knight Lab – a partnership between the Medill School of Journalism and the engineering program at Northwestern University. This program is emblematic of the value in creating opportunities for interdisciplinary fields to come together to address how information, and access to it, will impact democracy.

Person reading image - from John Bracken slide on the Knight Foundation and librariesIn recent years, Mr. Bracken said the Knight Foundation has placed more focus on libraries – for the most part, public libraries. The Foundation believes that Americans must have access to the information they need to make decisions about their lives – and that libraries are central to providing this access. In September 2014, the Foundation issued a call for ideas to public libraries and academic libraries to answer the question: “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” This Knight News Challenge awarded funding to 22 projects, sharing in $3 million in grants.

When the Foundation looks at libraries, they’re looking at how the roles are shifting. They see less focus on books and more focus on experiential roles – the roles libraries play in both children’s and adults’ learning experiences. They’re seeing libraries demonstrating how the communities can take advantage of their assets and skills and use their civic trust to communicate a positive vibe to become a center for access.

The Knight Foundation’s interest in libraries crosses over with the Foundation’s interest in data. In 2015, the Foundation announced a Knight News Challenge on Data – to address the need for data to be translated and related to those who do not work in the data world.

John BrackenMr. Bracken highlighted a program being piloted at the Chicago Public Library and its branches- the CyberNavigators. The “navigators” provide training to library patrons on how to navigate the web, run Internet searches, draft resumes, fill out job applications – all using digital tools that the library provides. The Knight Foundation is providing funding for a project that ties it with the CyberNavigators – the Internet To Go Tech Lending Program. That funding came out of a 2014 Knight News Challenge.

Mr. Bracken also discussed a more recent grant awarded in January to the Citizens Police Data Project in Chicago. This project is run through The Invisible Institute, a civic journalism outlet in Chicago. The Citizens Police Data Project has worked to document records of police misconduct. The founder of the Invisible Institute, Jamie Kalven, was the plaintiff in the case that compelled the City of Chicago to make police misconduct records public (Kalven v. City of Chicago, 2014 IL App (1st) 121846). The Citizens Police Data Project works in collaboration with the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. The project seeks to create a model of transparency and accountability by tracking and making available misconduct complaint records of Chicago police officers.

CALL Member Questions

John Bracken

A CALL member asked whether the Knight Foundation had funded any other higher education or academic library project in addition to the Northwestern Medill project. Mr. Bracken responded that typically they only fund projects with those kinds of institutions when they overlap with more public-facing institutions such as the San Jose Public Library which is housed within San Jose State University. However, the Foundation is considering more opportunities with higher education institutions such as information schools.

Another member asked, in light of what he observed with the Medill project, how does Mr. Bracken see journalism changing in the next 15 to 20 years? Mr. Bracken sees that the democratizing effect of the public sharing their own stories will create great change. He also expects to see a bifurcation of skills such as technology. But he questions whether some of the openness of platforms is dwindling, providing the example of Twitter removing posts that are deemed inappropriate. He wonders whether this trend toward a more controlled environment will continue. He also noted that it can be easier to find out what is happening in a conflict zone than at a local school board meeting.

Committee Announcements

Margaret Schilt

Grants & Chapter Awards

Margaret Schilt reminded CALL members that funds are available for grants to attend the AALL Annual Meeting. There are two types of these grants this year. Every three years AALL gives to a chapter a registration grant to a new member (defined as being a member for less than 5 years). There is also regular grant money available to attend the annual meeting. Email Margaret or check the CALL website for details on applying for these grants. Applications for AALL newer member grants are due March 31st. Applications for regular grant money are due March 31st.

Community Service

Julie Swanson
Julie Swanson

Co-Chair Julie Swanson announced that today’s monetary donations will go to PAWS Chicago, specifically for the purchase of life-saving equipment for the medical team supporting PAWS. In-kind donations collected at today’s meeting will be given to the Anti-Cruelty Society. Julie also asked that members stay tuned for an upcoming announcement for Race Judicata.

The door prizes were provided by LexisNexis – Julie thanked Bridget MacMillan for those gifts. The door prize drawing winners were Gretchen Van Dam, Bill Schwesig, and Gabrielle Lewis.

Julie reminded attendees that the next business meeting will be held in May.

Photo of CALL February 2016 Business Meeting attendees

[Photos courtesy of Emily Barney – Eds.]