Nancy Carol Kranich

Nancy Carol

Teaching Professor



Nancy Kranich serves as a Teaching Professor in the Master of Information program and coordinates the Library and Information Science concentration at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information.  She has also conducted special projects at the Rutgers University Libraries.  The American Library Association elected her as its millennial president in 2000-2001, focusing on the role of libraries in democracies.  A tireless champion of the public’s information rights, Kranich has spoken out against censorship, filtering, privatization, and other attempts to limit public access to vital information. While President of ALA, Kranich led ALA’s Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) lawsuit and she attended both the District and Supreme Court hearings. Prior to her Presidency, she spearheaded ALA's freedom of information and Internet filtering advocacy initiatives, formed the Coalition on Government Information, and established the James Madison Awards honoring champions of the public's right to know. She has testified several times before Congress, attended annual legislative days at the state and national levels, and participated in White House briefings on several issues.

Kranich has chaired and served on a number of ALA committees that deal with information policy and intellectual freedom issues, including the Committee on Legislation, the Legislation Assembly, the Committee on Legislation Copyright Subcommittee, the Committee on Legislation Telecommunications Subcommittee, and the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC). She has also served as a trustee of the ALA Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund and the Freedom to Read Foundation. In addition, Kranich founded the ALA Center for Civic Life and the Libraries Foster Community Engagement Membership Initiative Group, and was a member of the core planning and implementation teams for the ALA/Harwood Institute for Public Innovation Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, and served as an advisor to the Libraries Transform Communities Models for Change program and to the recently published book: Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement. She is the 2015 recipient of ALA’s Ken Haycock Award for the promotion of librarianship and was named in 2016 to the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor.

Kranich trained as a public innovator with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation—an organization that she linked up with ALA as a partner in The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities initiative to help libraries turn outward. She is now a member of the Harwood Public Innovators Library Ambassador Group, helping steer initiatives with the library community. At Rutgers, she has used the Harwood approach to spearhead engagement with and beyond the campus community. Kranich is an experienced moderator of community conversations and public forums, and trains conveners and moderators of deliberative dialogue. She has served two terms on the board of the National Issues Forum Institute (NIFI) and has worked nationally with numerous public engagement organizations, including the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). An active proponent of dialogue and deliberation, she is involved with numerous initiatives of the Kettering Foundation, including convening the U.S.-Russia Library Dialogue: Building Strong Communities: The Civic Role of Libraries in the 21st Century, participating in the Dartmouth Conference dialogue between Russian and U.S. citizens, participating in the Libraries and the Public: Returning to Democratic Roots learning exchange, and chairing the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) local affiliate in State College, PA.

Kranich has appeared on the Today Show, the C-Span Washington Journal, Bill Moyers’ NOW and National Public Radio. She has conducted hundreds of presentations and media interviews and written extensively on such topics as civic/community engagement, democracy, scholarly communication, information policy, censorship, and advocacy. Her notable publications include: Health Literacy in Diverse Communities: The Strength of Weak Ties--An Exploration between Academic Researchers and Public Libraries in Central New Jersey,” Library Trends (2021); "Democracy, Community, and Libraries" in Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement (2020); Libraries and Democracy Revisited,” Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy (2020); Adventures in Information Policy Wonderland,” in Foundations of Information Policy (2019); “Academic Libraries as Civic Agents,” in Discussing Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education Stylus Publishers (2019); “Safe/Brave Spaces: Engaging Future Citizens through School Libraries," School Library Connection (2018); “Libraries: Reuniting the Divided States of America,” Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy (2017); Mind the Gap: Connecting Academic Libraries and Campus Communities,” NEA Yearbook of Higher Education (2017); “The Promise of Academic Libraries Transforming Campus Communities,” with Megan Lotts and Gene Springs, College and Research Libraries News (2014); “Libraries and Strong Democracy: Moving from an Informed to a Participatory Citizenry,” Indiana Libraries (2013); “The Conversation Continues @ your library,” with Carlton Sears, American Libraries (March/April 2012); Libraries and Civic Engagement,” The Library and Book Trade Annual (2012);  “Academic Libraries as Hubs for Deliberative Democracy,” Journal of Public Deliberation (2010);Countering Enclosure: Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons. Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice,” in Hess and Ostrom (eds) Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (2006); “Civic Partnerships: The Role of Libraries in Promoting Civic Engagement” (2005); and Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty, ALA (2001).

Much of Kranich’s library career was based at New York University, where, as Associate Dean of Libraries, she managed NYU’s libraries, press, and media services. She also worked in public libraries in Bridgeport and Windsor, CT, and Madison, WI.  After retiring from NYU, Kranich authored: The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report as a Senior Research Fellow at the Free Expression Policy Project in New York. 

Kranich is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Highland Park, NJ, Public Library and the editorial board of Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy. She is also Treasurer of the National Security Archive in Washington and judges Project Censored's Most Underreported Stories of the Year. Internationally, she has advanced libraries and democracy in Eastern Europe and promoted universal service and information commons in France, China, Mexico and Taiwan. In 2011, she helped plan and lead the workshop, Beyond Books: News, Literacy and Democracy for America’s Libraries, which asked what’s possible when you bring together journalists and librarians.

Kranich 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. 




New York University
M.S., Public Administration

University of Wisconsin--Madison
M.A., Library Science

University of Wisconsin--Madison
B.A., Anthropology