Fake News & Media Literacy Syllabus

I have been collecting links related to fake news and media literacy for several weeks. The topic seems to have exploded since Stanford released its “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning” report in November.  Also in November, the California State Auditor’s office released its report “School Library Services: Vague State Laws and a Lack of Monitoring Allow School Districts to Provide a Minimal Level of Library Services,” in which I learned that “California has by far the poorest ratio of students to teacher librarians in the nation.” Somewhere along the road, it seems that librarians were equated to finding information, and in the “age of the Internet” where anyone can find things, I have often heard the obsolete speech. At my previous job, there was a committee set up to discuss whether the college’s AA and AS degrees (not for transfer) needed to fulfill an information and computer literacy requirement. One of the administrators thought that in the age of Google Chromebooks, there was “no need.” I left that job before a decision was made, and I discovered that the requirement was removed. Given the present state of information literacy, this is a mistake.

Interestingly, our library’s Deputy University Librarian Donald Barclay  wrote a piece called “The Challenge Facing Libraries in an Era of Fake News” in The Conversation a few days ago, and it has made the rounds in so many places! In the piece, he provides an overview of how librarians have helped progress information literacy historically, as well as the challenges facing students in today’s more ambiguous information landscape. My lament about our work is that as long as it’s taught on the periphery–no matter how worthy the Framework and lesson plans we develop may be–Donald is right, “Real progress in information literacy will require librarians, faculty and administrators working together…Indeed, it will require higher education, as well as secondary and primary education, to make information literacy a priority across the curriculum.”

Since before the holidays, the instruction team and I at UC Merced have been developing a digital campaign for our social media accounts and digital signage related to becoming an informed news consumer. (The idea was sparked by this graphic you may have seen before.) Unrelated to this initiative, we’re also pitching a more robust instruction menu, and one of the options is about media literacy. My colleague developed a lesson plan, but I will need to get her permission to share it. Recently, there was a call from Linda Miles at Yeshiva University in the collib listserv for lesson plans related to media literacy. She’ll be sharing those findings soon.

If you’re interested, Programming Librarian will be offering a free 45-minute webinar “Post-Truth: Fake News and a New Era of Information Literacy” on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 2 pm EST. Register by clicking on this link.

My goal for this post is to share the links related to fake news and media literacy that I have been collecting for the last few weeks. I’m sure this sort of project is already in the works (indeed, I even signed up for Twitter again specifically for this topic…), but this is my attempt at a Fake News and Media Literacy Syllabus that can help academic librarians who teach information literacy. The link takes you to a Google Doc that can be edited. Feel free to add articles, tools, lesson plans, LibGuides, etc. to the Syllabus or to this post. I would love for folks to add their names and affiliations as well. I plan to do official citations later, as well as some kind of organization that makes sense. There is tons of stuff I haven’t added, but we’ll get there.

Last updated on Jan. 17, 2017

This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

My Elephant and Piggie dreams have come true!

This is What a Librarian Looks Like

The absolute craziest thing happened yesterday. I found out that I’m on the cover of a book that will be published in May 2017. Sure, the photo is from 2.5 years ago (it will be a 3-year-old photo when it’s published) when I was a little rounder and pre-Invisalign, and the photo is not my personal best…blah blah blah…but it’s pretty darn cool.

In February of 2014, an article on Slate called “This is What a Librarian Looks Like,” which featured photography by Kyle Cassidy, went viral. In June, there was enough money in the Kickstarter campaign to “photograph and interview more than 300 Librarians at the ALA conference in Las Vegas [and] to also fund the stretch goals of creating a series of stock photographs for libraries to use, doing five hours of video interviews, and doing some photography for the new Joan of Dark book on knitting projects for book lovers” (Cassidy, 2014). Read more about the project here: http://kylecassidy.com/librarians/

Back in May 2014, I had just finished up my first year as a tenure track faculty librarian at a community college, and I decided to attend the American Library Annual Conference in Las Vegas that June (I paid for the whole trip out of pocket). I didn’t really intend to participate in the photo taking (I’m shyer and struggle with putting myself out there), but the initial librarians involved were encouraging. I filled out the model release and wrote up a statement answering one of these questions.

1) What are the greatest challenges facing libraries today?
2) What are the most important services that libraries provide?
3) What inspired you to do what you do?
4) What do libraries do that people might not know about?
5) What would happen in your community if all the libraries shut down tomorrow?
6) Why are libraries relevant when the Internet exists?

The thing is, I don’t remember which I answered or what I wrote! I had almost forgotten about this whole project. I suspect that I answered #3. I will find out in May. It may be that not everyone’s statement was included, but being on the cover is cool.

Anyway, my parents who don’t know much about what I actually do are super excited. My sister showed them my Facebook status update (they are not computer users…my mom doesn’t even have a mobile phone). This is what my whole family is getting for Christmas 2017. As I said on Instagram, Amazon, all of those pre-orders are from me. LOL! (P.S. You can pre-order a copy here.)

I’m looking forward to reading what everyone wrote!