SPARC was founded in 1998 as a catalyst for action. Our pragmatic agenda focuses on encouraging new norms, practices, and policies that promote open and equitable systems for sharing knowledge. 

Our governance and organizational structure are designed to incorporate participation and oversight from our membership, while remaining agile and responsive to the fast-moving environment in which we operate. SPARC operates in accordance with the SPARC Articles of Governance.

How We Work

SPARC’s work focuses on encouraging new norms, practices, and policies for knowledge sharing that address the ways in which racism, colonialism, and other forms of discrimination limit whose voices are heard, whose interests are prioritized, and whose knowledge counts. We are committed to designing equity and inclusion into the foundation of the work that we do and the communities we cultivate, and we advocate for these core values in all of the spaces where SPARC is active. We also draw from relevant community-led transparency and good governance initiatives, including the NGLP Values and Principles Framework, and incorporate best practices. Further information about SPARC and its operations is available in our FAQ.

Program Priorities
Approach to Social, Political, & Natural Events


SPARC’s membership includes about 250 libraries and academic organizations, whose membership criteria and voting rights are outlined in the SPARC Articles of Governance. SPARC’s leadership and staff maintain channels of direct communication with the membership in order to provide timely updates and gather feedback.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee oversees SPARC’s strategy, activities, and finances. Elected by our membership in accordance with the SPARC Articles of Governance, the Steering Committee oversees the Executive Director and sets the policies and procedures that govern SPARC. The Steering Committee has six scheduled meetings per year. 


SPARC is primarily financed by member dues, which support core operating and program expenses. SPARC also receives funding through grants and donations, which support additional activities consistent with our mission. SPARC’s finances are overseen by the Steering Committee.

Fiscal Sponsorship

SPARC operates as an independent project of the New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. SPARC was founded as an initiative of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The ARL Board unanimously approved SPARC’s move to NVF in 2014. 


Learn more about our work