As our concern over the rapid spread of false news and the rise in aggression toward marginalized groups deepens, the necessary role of preparing our patrons to evaluate the ever-changing information landscape becomes clearer and more urgent. This panel will discuss ways librarians, across departments, and libraries, across different types of academic institutions and regions, can expand on and begin new programming, services and other resources to ensure its users feel safe, welcome, informed, and adequately represented in their libraries.
Post-truth, fake news, librarians, programming, representation, inclusivity
Getting Past “Post-Truth”: Librarians Respond
Frank Livak Room
There is concern among librarians that information illiteracy and the rapid spread of false news via social media have changed the information climate considerably, to the point where it feels as though we are witnessing the dawn of the “post-truth” era. Coupled with changing campus climates and a rise in hate crimes post-election, this panel of librarians feels an urgency for librarians to provide support to marginalized students, faculty, and fellow librarians. Librarians dedicate their lives to fostering critical evaluation of information sources through information literacy instruction, collection development, partnerships with campus stakeholders, and many other roles. Librarians are equally dedicated to ensuring access to information, privacy and safety within our spaces.
Academic libraries stand poised to lead the way as inclusive and non-partisan, but never neutral, spaces for intellectual freedom on college campuses. In light of the recent election, many librarians are wondering how to ensure we live up to this standard. Though it seems most relevant for this type of work to fall on public service librarians, librarians across departments and at all levels of staff, from technical services to public services and instruction, need to be involved in fostering inclusivity.
On this panel, librarians from a wide variety of New England’s institutions of higher education will discuss ways their libraries have mobilized to expand or begin providing programming and other resources to ensure that students, faculty, and staff feel safe, welcome, informed, and adequately represented in their libraries.
Panelists will provide examples of positive actions that they, their libraries, and their institutions have taken to address these shifting social climates, with concrete examples of public statements, programming, toolkits, and staff training (among other things). While these actions will be perceived as positive among some members of our academic communities, the panel is also prepared to address the very real negative issues of lack of campus support, negotiating fall out, and both personal and professional burnout. The goal of this panel is to provide attendees with not only why this work is increasingly important, but also concrete examples of what has worked, what has not worked, what we need to do more of moving forward, and what could be adapted for your library more specifically and your campus community more broadly.