It’s no secret that we’re fans of libraries. In case we needed another reason, Bay Area libraries are taking an exciting step to address news literacy and help prevent the spread of fake news. With assistance from Common Knowledge Group, Pacific Library Partnership (PLP) – a network of 42 Bay Area libraries – is launching a region-wide initiative aimed at creating news literacy tools and resources for library audiences.
To launch their collaborative planning process, PLP brought together over 40 librarians, educators and journalists for a News Literacy Forum on October 3. The gathering at San Mateo Public Library confirmed the findings of a survey conducted this summer by PLP and Common Knowledge Group: among Bay Area librarians, there is broad support for efforts to address news literacy and interest in partnerships. The project’s mission is resonant with national research from the Pew Research Center about How People Approach Facts and Information. indicating that libraries have high levels of trust.
The October 3 forum featured two panels that kicked off group planning. Media and education panelists from KQED, New America Media and San Francisco State University pointed to several educational resources that libraries may be able to adapt for their audiences, including Stanford’s Reading Like a Historian program and KQED’s news education offerings, Above the Noise and the Lowdown. Author and journalist Andrew Lam, a founding editor at New America Media, also offered suggestions for how librarians can more effectively address the needs of immigrant and non-English-speaking communities.
An all-star library panel also brought together librarians from South San Francisco Public Library, Oakland Public Library, U.C. Berkeley and CSU East Bay who have all worked on news literacy guides or programing. Over the coming months, local librarians will direct the creation and adaptation of a wide range of tools and resources, as part of PLP’s News Literacy Working Group.
The project has a user-based design approach so that testing with multiple library audiences will be integral to the development of a News Literacy Toolkit that will be disseminated in 2018. PLP’s news literacy efforts are backed, in part, by a Library Services and Technology Administration (LSTA) grant from the California State Library.
Have you seen a news literacy tool or resource that could help the PLP team? Send links and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your suggestions.