Libraries, Fake News, and “Alternative Facts”
Resources and an event for the perplexed (or merely curious).
While it’s always been one of the core responsibilities of the profession, one aspect of librarianship that hadn’t garnered much public attention until recently is the support of information literacy: that is, how to find, evaluate, and use reliable information. In the current information climate, though, these skills are becoming more and more important.
Librarians have put forth a terrific variety of tools recently in the effort to identify and combat the spread of misinformation. Among the clearest is this guide published by librarians at Harvard University. In it, you’ll find a list of red flags for fake news items, as well a list of resources to help you fact-check what you read.
And later this month, NPL will be hosting an event on The Science of Fake News. What are the thought processes that make us susceptible to misinformation, and how do fake news stories exploit them? How does misinformation affect the democratic process? Join us on the evening of February 23rd for an exploration of both the cognitive phenomena and the political and social implications of this issue with researchers from the Psychological & Brain Sciences and Government departments of Dartmouth College.
In the meantime, if you have doubts about the authenticity of something you’ve read online, don’t be shy about asking a librarian! We’re here to help.