Nancy Kranich
Part-Time Lecturer
Library and Information Science
Contact Info
Office Hours:
Available by appointment.


Biographical Statement

Nancy Kranich teaches at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and conducts special projects for the Rutgers University Libraries. She served as President of the American Library Association in 2000-2001, focusing on the role of libraries in democracies. A tireless advocate for free and open access to information, Nancy has spoken out against censorship, filtering, secrecy, privatization, and other attempts to limit the public’s information rights. She has also spearheaded ALA's right to know, information commons, civic engagement, and Internet filtering initiatives, formed the Coalition on Government Information, and established the James Madison Awards honoring champions of public access to information. She has testified several times before Congress, attended annual legislative days at the state and national levels, and participated in several White House and Congressional briefings. 

Nancy has served on a number of ALA committees that deal with intellectual freedom, information policy, and public engagement. Currently, she is a member of the Committee on Legislation Telecommunications Subcommittee and the Intellectual Freedom Committee Privacy Subcommittee. In addition, Nancy founded and chairs the ALA Center for Civic Life and ALA’s Libraries Foster Civic Engagement Membership Initiative Group, and was instrumental in launching ALA’s partnership with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. Previously she chaired the Intellectual Freedom and Legislation Committees and the Committee on Legislation Copyright Subcommittee and Legislation Assembly, and led the Association’s efforts to oppose the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), promote privacy, and advocate media diversity.

Most of Nancy’s library career was based at New York University, where, as Associate Dean of Libraries, she managed NYU’s libraries, archives, press, and media services. She also worked in public libraries in Bridgeport and Windsor, CT, and Madison, WI.  After retiring from NYU, Nancy served as Senior Research Fellow at the Free Expression Policy Project in New York where she authored: The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report and participated in an Indiana University convening about scholarly commons that led to the publication of Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, edited by Charlotte Hess and Nobel Prize Winner Elinor Ostrom.

Prior to moving to New Jersey, Nancy lived and worked for several years as a civic librarian in State College, PA, fostering civic engagement, consulting with libraries and policy organizations, serving as a trustee of the public library, and lecturing at Penn State, UW-Milwaukee (online), Long Island, and other universities.  Now at Rutgers University, Nancy splits her time between teaching information policy and intellectual freedom courses in Library and Information Science and working as Special Projects Librarian.

Nancy has appeared on the Today Show, the C-Span Washington Journal, Bill Moyers’ NOW and National Public Radio, along with hundreds of other presentations and media interviews.  She writes on such topics as information policy, civic engagement, scholarly communication, censorship, democracy, information literacy, and advocacy. Among her notable publications are: Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty, ALA (2001); “The Impact of the USA PATRIOT Act on Free Expression” (2003); “Libraries and Civic Engagement” (2012); “Academic Libraries as Hubs for Deliberative Democracy” (2010); “Promoting Adult Learning Through Civil Discourse in the Public Library” (2010); and “Libraries as Universal Service Providers” (2007).

Nancy is Treasurer of the National Security Archive in Washington and judges Project Censored's Most Underreported Stories of the Year. She has worked internationally to advance libraries and democracy in Eastern Europe and to promote universal service and information commons in France, China, Taiwan, and Mexico. An active proponent and convener of dialogue, deliberation, and community engagement, she works closely with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and the Kettering Foundation, including participating in the Deliberative Democracy Exchange, serving on the board of its National Issues Forum Institute (NIFI), attending the U.S./Russia Dartmouth Conference dialogues, and chairing the NIFI local affiliate in State College, PA.

Nancy earned a master's degree and studied for her doctorate in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and an M.A. in Library Science and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

MA, Library Science, University of Wisconsin--Madison; MPA, New York University Wagner School of Public Service; PhD work, NYU Wagner School of Public Service; BA, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin--Madison

Information Policy

Intellectual Freedom

Civic/Community Engagement

Information Ethics

Digital Libraries

Academic and Public Libraries

Leadership and Management

Publications and Presentations

“The Conversation Continues @ your library,” with Carlton Sears, American Libraries, March/April 2012, vol. 43 (3/4): 22.

“Libraries and Strong Democracy: Moving from an Informed to a Participatory Citizenry,” Indiana Libraries, Special Issue on Intellectual Freedom and related issues, forthcoming.

“Libraries and Civic Engagement,” The Bowker Annual 2012, New York: Bowker, forthcoming.

“Preparing the Next Generation of Library Policy Makers,” New Jersey Library Association Newsletter, 9 (4): 6, Winter 2011-2012,

“Deliberative Dialogue-Changing the Discourse in the Country, the Committee and the Classroom,” In Debbie Abilock, School Librarians as Leaders in Professional Development, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, forthcoming 2012.

“Interview on Libraries and Democracy,” American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Democracy Project, Blog, January 4, 2011,

“Civic Engagement,” Podcast, Public Library Talk, December 31, 2010,

“Promoting Adult Learning Through Civil Discourse in the Public Library,” In Marilyn Parrish and Edward Taylor, Adult Education in Cultural Institutions: Libraries, Museums, Parks, and Zoo, in series, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 127 (Fall 2010): 15-24.

“Building a Better Journalism: Media Activists and Scholars Share Their Ideas,” Extra: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), July 2009,

“Academic Libraries as Hubs for Deliberative Democracy,” Journal of Public Deliberation special issue on Higher Education and Deliberative Democracy, vol. 6, #1, 2010, Article 4,; revised from “Academic Libraries as Hubs for Civic Engagement,” Paper prepared for the Democracy Imperative symposium: No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners, The University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., July 8 – July 11, 2009.

“Wasilla, Fahrenheit 451,” The Nation, vol. 287, #12, October 20, 2008: 5.  Available online as: “What’s Daddy’s Roommate Doing in Wasilla?” posted September 18, 2008,

“Communities, Learning, and Democracy in the Digital Age,” with Lynette Kvasny and Jorge Schement, in John Carroll, ed., Learning in Communities Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Centered Information Technology, London: Springer, 2009: 41-44, available online at:

Review of Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First Century Guide, by Toni Samek, Oxford: Chando Publishing, 2007, in Library Quarterly, vol. 78, # 3, July 2008: 343-345.

“IF Advocacy and Public Policy: Q&A with Former ALA President Nancy Kranich,” with Marta Magnuson, Wisconsin Library Association IFRT Newsletter, Spring 2008: 10-11,

“Deliberative Dialogue: A Different Kind of Talk—Another Way to Engage Communities,” FOLUSA News Update, vol. 31, #2 (March 2008): 5, 11; and ALTA Newsletter (Spring 2008).

“Librarians and Teen Privacy in the Age of Social Networking,” Knowledge Quest, vol. 36, #2, November/December 2007: 34-37.

“Information Commons,” with Jorge R. Schement, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, vol. 42, 2008: 547-591.

“Libraries as Universal Service Providers,” paper presented at the Benton Foundation Universal Service Project Meeting, Washington, DC, September 28, 2006; Revised for publication, December 2006,

“Preface,” Alternative Publishers of Books in North America,”6th ed., edited and compiled by Byron Anderson, Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2006: v-ix.

“Communities, Learning and Democracy in the Digital Age,” with Lynette Kvasny and Jorge Reina Schement Journal of Community Informatics, vol. 2, # 2, 2006,

“Countering Enclosure: Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons” in Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, edited by Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, MIT Press, 2006: 85-122.

“The Civic Mission of School Libraries,” Knowledge Quest, vol. 34, #4, March/April 2006: 10-17.

“Open Access vs. Filtering: An Affirmative Response,” Public Libraries, July/August 2005: 15-21.

“ALA and Political Action: Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know in the Digital Age,” Argus, the official publication of la Corporation des Bibliothécaires Professionnels du Québec, vol. 33, #3, (Fall 2004): 17-23.

“Media, Democracy and Libraries: The Growth of Media Activism in the United States,” Feliciter: Publication of the Canadian Library Association, vol. 50, #5, (October 2004): 200-203.

“Promoting Civic Engagement through the Campus Library,” Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) Newsletter, (October 2004).

“The Information Commons: New Models for the Digital Age,” with Marjorie Heins, Cultural Commons: The Meeting Place for Culture and Policy, (September 2004).

“Civic Partnerships: The Role of Libraries in Promoting Civic Engagement,” in “Creative Collaborations: Libraries Within Their Institutions and Beyond,” Special issue of Resource Sharing and Information Networks, Volume 18, # 1 & 2, 2005/6: 89-103.  Downloadable text available at:

“Another Hysteric Librarian for Freedom,” in Censored: 2005, by Peter Phillips and Project Censored (New York: Seven Stories Press, Fall 2004): 9-13.

The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report, (New York: Free Expression Policy Project, June 2004).

“The Role of Research Libraries in Conceptualizing and Fostering Scholarly Commons,” paper prepared for the Workshop on Scholarly Communication as an Information Commons, Indiana University Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Bloomington, IN, March 30-April 2, 2004.

“Civic Engagement and Academic Libraries,” with Michele Reid and Taylor Willingham, in College and Research Libraries News, vol. 65, #4 (July/August, 2004): 380-383, 388, 393. Downloadable text available at:

"Libraries and the Information Commons: A Discussion Paper," (Washington, DC: American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy, December 2003).

“MATRIX and the New Surveillance States,” (New York: Free Expression Policy Project, October 16, 2003):  Modified version, “A Blip in the MATRIX,” (San Francisco, CA: Alternet, October 16, 2003).

“Libraries: The Information Commons of Civil Society,” in Douglas Schuler, Shaping the Network Society, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004): 279-299,

“Libraries and the Information Commons: New Opportunities to Participate in the Information Society,” (Geneva, Switzerland: World-Information.Org InfoPaper for distribution at the World Summit on the Information Society, December 2003),

“Why Filters Won’t Protect Children or Adults,” Library Administration and Management, vol. 18, #1, (December 2003): 29-35,

“The Information Commons: From Metaphor to Reality,” Common Property Resource Digest, # 65 (June 2003): 5-6,

“The Impact of the USA PATRIOT Act on Free Expression,” (New York: Free Expression Policy Project, May 2003),; “Update,” (August 27, 2003),; reprinted in Censored, 2004, by Peter Phillips and Project Censored (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003): 275-281.

“The Information Commons,” (New York: Free Expression Policy Project, April 2003):,

Staking a Claim in the Information Commons,” Knowledge Quest, vol. 31, #4 (March/April 2003): 22-25. Preprint available on the Digital Library of the Commons,

“Libraries—Public Forums for Today’s Critical Issues,” with Anne Heanue and Taylor Willingham, American Libraries, 34, #1 (January 2003): 68-70.

Why Do We Still Need Libraries? Tenth Nasser Sharify Lecture, Delivered October 28, 2001, (New York: Pratt Institute, 2002).

“Big Ten Media Conglomerates—Comments,” The Nation, 274, #1 (January 7/14, 2002): 34.

“Libraries Create Social Capital,” Library Journal, 126, #19 (November 15, 2001): 40-41,

“Libraries Bridge the Digital Divide,” Spectra: The NCA newsletter, 37, #7 (July 2001): 4, 12.

“Develop Yourself: Expose Your Mind to a Banned Book,” Essay on Banned Books,; Reprinted in Learning and Media: Journal of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 29, # 4 (Fall 2001): 8-9.

“Should Public Libraries Use Filters to Block Obscenity and Pornography on the Internet?  NO,” The CQ Researcher, 7, #21 (June 1, 2001): 481.

Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty. Editor and Contributor. (Chicago, IL: American Library Association), June 2001.

Final Report: Strengthening Library Associations in the South Caucasus: A Regional Workshop--May 5-8, 2001, Tbilisi, Georgia, (June 2001),

“Libraries Help to Build Civil Society,” American Libraries, 32, #6 (June/July 2001): 7,

“Libraries, Democracy, and Online Access,” American Libraries, 32, #5 (May 2001): 7,

“Libraries in the Digital Age: Enhancing Teaching and Learning,” Future Courses: Technological Trends That Will Change Education, Edited by Dr. Jason Ohler (Bloomington, IN: Technos Press), 2001: 97-110.

“Why Libraries Are More Popular Than Ever,” American Libraries, 32, #4 (April 2001): 7,

“Celebrate Freedom of Information Day,” American Libraries, 32, #3 (March 2001): 7,

“Assessing Internet Access: The Public Library Meets the First Amendment in the Information Age,” Media Studies Journal, Vol 14, #3 (Fall 2000): 42-45, Adobe Reader pps. 53-56.

“Join ALA’s Campaign for America’s Libraries,” American Libraries, 32, #2 (February 2001): 7.

“Libraries: Ensuring Information Equity in the Digital Age,” American Libraries, 32, #1 (January 2001): 7.

“Libraries, the Internet and Democracy,” Managing the Internet Controversy: Effective Strategies and Successful Models, Edited by Mark Smith, (NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers), 2001, p. 1 - 21. Reprinted in: Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty (Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2001): 83-95. Available at:

“Building Information Smart Communities,” American Libraries, 31, #11 (December 2000): 7.

“Libraries as Civic Spaces,” American Libraries, 31, #10 (November 2000): 7.

“Building Advocates for 21st-Century Libraries,” American Libraries, 31, #9 (October 2000): 7.

“Building Partnerships for 21st-Century Literacy,” American Libraries, 31, #8 (September 2000): 7.

“Libraries: The Cornerstone of Democracy,” American Libraries, 31, #7 (August 2000): 5.

Smart Voting Starts @yourlibrary,” Tip Sheet, American Libraries, 31 #7 (August 2000): insert.

“Information Equity for the 21st Century,” Censored: The News That Didn’t Make the News (NY: Seven Stories Press, 2000): 221-228.

“Collaborating to Build a Global Digital Library,” The Electronic Library, December 1999, Vol 17, #6: 353-354.

“A Question of Balance: The Role of Libraries in Providing Alternatives to the Mainstream Media,” Counterpoise, #3(3/4) July/October 1999: 7 - 10, reprinted in Alternative Library Literature, 2000/2001, Jefferson, NC: McFarland , 2000; and Collection Building vol.19 #3 (2000): 85-90.

“Digital Libraries: Building a Bridge to the 21st Century,” Texas Library Journal, Fall 1999: 96-103.

“Building a Global Digital Library,” in IT and Global Digital Library Development edited by Ching-chi Chen.  (West Newton, MA: MicroUse Information, 1999): 251-256.

“A Popular Government, Without Popular Information....,” Speaking Out! Voices in Celebration of Intellectual Freedom, edited by Ann Symons and Sally Gardner Reed.  Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 1999: 26-27.

“Scholarly Publishers Hold Universities Hostage: Monopoly on Journals Causes Prices to Soar,” Extra, publication of FAIR (January 1999): 24-25.

"Staking a Claim for Public Space in Cyberspace," in Creating the Future: Essays on Librarianship, edited by Sally Gardner Reed (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1996): 8-28.

Staking a Claim in Cyberspace: Ensuring Public Places on the Information Highway, limited edition prepared for the Media and Democracy Conference, Westfield, NJ: Open Magazine, February 1996; earlier edition reprinted in The New American Crisis: Radical Analyses of the Problems Facing America Today, edited by Greg Ruggiero and Stuart Sahulka, New York: The New Press, 1995: 182-203.

"Building Coalitions: Ensuring the Public Right to Access to the Information Highway," Feliciter: Publication of the Canadian Library Association 41, #3 (March 1995): 18-21.

Internet, Access and Democracy, (Westfield, NJ: Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, #31) 1994.

"The Selling of Cyberspace: Can Libraries Protect Public Access?" Library Journal 118: (November 15, 1993): 34-37.

"Federal Funding for Academic Libraries," in The Funding of Public and Academic Libraries: The Critical Issue for the '90s, ed. by Alphonse F. Trezza (Detroit, MI: G.K. Hall, 1992): 17-27.

"Whose Right to Know Is It Anyway? The Struggle to Insure Public Access to Government Information," Your Right To Know: Librarians Make It Happen--Conference Background Papers (Chicago, IL: American Library Association, June 1992): 12-18.

"The Public's Right to Know and Electronic Government Information," Citizen Rights and Access to Electronic Information: A Collection of Background Essays Prepared for the 1991 LITA President's Program," edited by Dennis J. Reynolds (Chicago, IL: Library and Information Technology Association, 1991): 27‑29.  Reprinted in Citizen Rights and Access to Electronic Information: The 1991 LITA President's Program Presentations and Background Papers," edited by Dennis J. Reynolds (Chicago, IL: Library and Information Technology Association, 1992): 107-110.

"Freedom of Information: Government Information in Electronic Format," Convergence: Proceedings of the Second National Conference of the Library and Information Technology Association, October 2‑6, 1988, Boston. (Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 1990): 228‑234.

"Statement on Federal Information Dissemination Policies and Practices before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Information, Justice and Agriculture, May 23, 1989," Federal Information Dissemination Policies and Practices: Hearings, 101st Cong., 1st session, April 18, May 23, and July 11, 1989. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990): 306‑332 and Appendix 6, 823‑883.

"Information Drought: Next Crisis for the American Farmer?" Library Journal, 114 (June 15, 1989): 22‑27. Reprinted in Jane Anne Hannigan, The Best of Library Literature, 1989 (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990): 190‑204.

"Research Libraries or Library Consortia As the Basis for Creating a Research Infrastructure in Library and Information Science," joint author with a task force chaired by Jerome Yavarkovsky, in Rethinking the Library in the Information Age: Building an Infrastructure for Library Research, Vol. III (U.S. Department of Education, 1989): 43‑53.

"The KGB, The FBI and Libraries," Our Right To Know, (Summer 1988): 1‑5.

"The Coalition on Government Information," The ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Services '88, Vol 13 (Chicago: American Library Association, 1988).

"Government Information: Less is Dangerous," Thought and Action: The NEA Higher Education Journal 4 (Spring 1988): 37‑48. Reprinted in Jane Anne Hannigan, The Best of Library Literature, 1988 (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1989): 49‑58.

"The Coalition on Government Information," in Libraries, Coalitions, and the Public Good, edited by E.J. Josey (New York: Neal Schuman Publishers, 1987): 143‑150.

"Find the Right Criteria, Then Decide About Fees," Collection Building 8, no. 1 (1986): 21‑22.

"Evaluating the Online Catalog From A Public Services Perspective: A Case Study at New York University Libraries," with Christina Spellman, Deborah Hecht, and Gail Persky, in The Impact of Online Catalogs, edited by Joseph R, Matthews (New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1986).

"Statement before the U.S. House Postsecondary Education Subcommittee," Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act: Title II, (College Libraries), and Titles VI, VIII, X, XI - Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, House Document, 99th Cong., 1st sess., September 6, 1985, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1986): 37‑55.

"Statement of Nancy Kranich before the U.S. House Postsecondary Education Subcommittee," West Virginia Libraries 38 (Fall 1985): 34‑41.

"Proposed Need Criteria for HEA II-A: What Constitutes a Needy Library?" College and Research Libraries News 46(March 1985): 113‑114.

"Action Exchange: Response to Job Sharing in Reference," American Libraries 16(March 1985): 148.

A Study of An Online Catalog From a Public Services Perspective; Final Report to the Office of Management Studies, Association of Research Libraries, with Christina Spellman, Deborah Hecht, and Gail Persky, (Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, December 1984). ERIC # ED 254 249.

A Study of User Success with an Online Catalog; Final Report to the Council on Library Resources for Grant, CLR 2065, with Christina Spellman and Deborah Hecht, (New York, NY: New York University, December 1984). ERIC # ED 254 247.

"Higher Education Act Revision Due in 1985," College and Research Libraries News 10(November 1984): 542‑544.

"A Study of an Online Catalog from a Public Services Perspective," with Christina Spellman, Gail Persky, and Deborah Hecht, in Preliminary Report From the Public Services Research Projects, (Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, Office of Management Studies, September 1984).

Copyright Policies in ARL Libraries, (compiler) (Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, March 1984). SPEC Kit #102.

"Going by the Book: A Case Study -- Analysis," Library Journal, 108 (April 1, 1983): 637‑638.

"New York University Libraries, 1831‑1981", The Booklist, 40 (Winter 1982): 85‑88.

"New York State Passes Landmark Legislation Aiding Academic Libraries," NYLA Bulletin, 29 (November 1981): 7.

"User Fees: They are not Inevitable," Library Journal, 105 (May 1, 1980): 1048‑51.

"Urban Libraries: A Strategy for Survival through Decentralization and Community Control," The Public Sector, 1 (Fall 1978): 1‑7.

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