Libraries to Host Networking Event on Fake News & Information Literacy

Worried about fake news? Concerned that Facebook is making it harder to connect with those who have different political viewpoints? You’re not alone.

A Pew Research Center survey from December 2016 showed that 64% of respondents believed that made-up news causes “a great deal of confusion” about basic facts. Technologists and scholars surveyed by Pew described their fears that without transparency and greater knowledge about how algorithms work, we could see a future in which algorithms widen the gulf between people of different points of view. The Oxford Dictionaries even declared post-truth their 2016 word of the year while the Chronicle of Higher Education named information literacy as one of its 2017 trends, noting that “it’s become a priority in an era of fake news.”

Information literacy is something we think about too. Librarians and archivists have long collaborated with instructors to help students find and evaluate the information students need for research projects. But information literacy is hardly limited to the library, or even formal research assignments.  Anyone using the Internet or social media today encounters a fire hose of information each day and must decide what to trust and where to place their limited attention.

Given the growing concern about the ways we use and encounter that information, we think it’s a good time to bring together the many people in the Ohio University and Athens-area community who would like to create fake news-related projects in academic and community settings.

We invite you to join us for a networking session from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4 on the 4th floor of Alden Library. At this meeting, we’ll facilitate a discussion and bring together individuals interested in working on information literacy-related projects going forward. The discussion session is open to the public, but we especially welcome attendance from Ohio University faculty and staff, K12 teachers, school and public librarians, local community leaders, and politicians.

Registration is not required, but would help us plan for the meeting. If you aren’t able to join us you can also complete the registration form and let us know that you’d like to be updated about future events on this topic.

If you’d like to start the discussion early, follow us on Twitter (@AldenLibrary, using the #ohiouil or Facebook where we’ll be sharing resources about information literacy and fake news.