Author Archives: Trevor Martinson

Book Lists – 100 Must Reads

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a good book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

Weeding Resources

Weeding, also known as culling or de-selection, is a process of removing library materials form collections based on a certain criteria. Weeding is a necessary process that libraries continuously perform.

Weeding is vital because it saves shelf space (removes overstuffed shelves and creates room for new books), makes it easier to browse the collection and thus saves time, removes outdated material, makes the collection more appealing, etc.

Librarians are often hesitant to weed for many different reasons. Don’t let any hesitations get in the way of weeding; you don’t want your collection to suffer because of it. One such hesitation is the potential reaction from the public/ patrons. They may look at the process and say, “Why is the library throwing out books?” Transparency is needed to avoid any negative publicity. Get the word out before the project begins, and explain the process and why weeding is essential.

It is important for librarians and patrons alike to remember that libraries do not have unlimited space; and libraries are not museums or warehouses.

If you need guidance, THE definitive resource on weeding is CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, which was created by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  The Crew manual explains why weeding is important, it covers the weeding process, and it also offers weeding assistance on specific categories (nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels, periodicals, children’s books, young adult fiction, etc.).

Before starting a weeding project, you should make sure your library has an updated weeding policy. One is available on the State Library’s website (and in the resources below).

If you ever need assistance with weeding, don’t hesitate to contact your Library Development representative (and we’ll come running!).

Now that we’ve covered some weeding basics, it’s time to start weeding! Here are some great resources on weeding:

Videos/ Webinars/ Tutorials on Weeding:

Recommended Reading:

  • Allen, M. (2010). Weed ’em and reap: The art of weeding to avoid criticism. Library Media Connection. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/V2Nx0P
  • Chant, I. (2015). The art of weeding: Collection management. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2sqVUqc
  • Vnuk, R. (2016). Weeding without worry: Transparency and communication help ease weeding woes. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Zi73Rm

What to Do with Weeded Books:

Factors for Weeding:

  • Consider things like age, last circulation date, number of circulations, condition, multiple copies, etc.
  • Also, you can use the acronym MUSTIE – Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, and Elsewhere (more information on MUSTIE can be found in the Crew manual)

Inspiring Quotes on Weeding:

  • “A good library collection is like a good haircut. It’s not what you cut–it’s what you leave.” – Anne Felix (CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries)
  • “…it is better to have worthless books in the trash than have trash on your shelves.” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “Overflowing shelves give an overall impression of chaos and make it harder for people to fine the resources they really need.” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “…lack of funds to replace outdated or worn items is never an excuse for not weeding.” – Jeanette Larson (CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries)
  • “Try to avoid a situation where weeding is a massive project that is done once in ten years requiring you to weed hundreds of items. It is much better to make weeding an ongoing process…” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “Patrons lose patience trying to find items that are crammed onto overcrowded shelves.” – CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries
  • “Circulation can be increased by simply making the shelves look more attractive and user-friendly, even if there are actually fewer books.” – CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries

Readers Advisory Resources

Readers Advisory is a service libraries offer that includes helping readers locate materials through recommendations, book lists, displays, social networking, and other means. Basically, readers advisory means recommending books to patrons.

All libraries provide readers advisory services whether they realize it or not. It can be done “informally” (by verbally recommending books to patrons) and “formally” (by using displays and handouts).

If your library has recommended items to patrons either “formally” or “informally,” your library has done readers advisory. (Hint: remember this when filling out your library’s annual report)

If you would like to expand your library’s readers advisory services or if you would like to learn more about this service, here are some great resources:

Resources specifically for teens/ young adults:

Book Lists – Summer is Coming

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a good book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

It’s still technically spring, but summer is coming (Game of Thrones fans will appreciate this image); so here are some books to get you through spring and ready for summer:

State Library Has A Drone!

Attention North Dakota libraries! The State Library now has a drone! The DJI Phantom 3: Drone Kit is available in KitKeeper. The kit includes a drone and an iPad for shooting and editing digital video. The kit only circulates to public and school libraries in North Dakota, and it be checked out up to 8 weeks. To reserve the drone kit or to learn more about it, visit KitKeeper at: http://www.eventkeeper.com/kitkeeper/index.cfm?curOrg=nodak

drone

Book Lists – YA

Looking for a good YA book to read? Looking for a good YA book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good YA book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

Adult Programming Resources

The following is a list of resources relating to adult programming and the 2017 Renewal & Development session “Adults Only: Adult Programming in Public Libraries.”

Resources for “Adults Only: Adult Programming in Public Libraries” (2017 R&D Session)

State Library Resources

Other Resources

Reading Without Walls

Reading Without Walls is a reading challenge program for April created through a partnership between the Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader, Library of Congress, and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.  Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has done the artwork for the program.

Books act like windows when they show us the lives of people who are different from us.  The Reading Without Walls program asks our young people to explore the world through books by challenging them to:

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
  3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun

This program aims to promote diversity and open readers’ eyes to new ideas and experiences.  Reading Without Walls is an inclusive way to spread appreciation and understanding for others – and to learn new and exciting things.

What can YOU do to read without walls?

The box comes with a poster (wall and easel standup), activity book, stickers, bookmarks and pins.  There is also downloadable content!

The State Library received one box and wants to send it to a library that will consider doing this program (sorry for the short notice!)

Please respond to the Facebook post by 3:00 p.m., Friday, March 31 and we’ll pick one lucky random library to receive it!

Contact Kristin Byram at ndslpa@nd.gov with any questions.

Book Lists

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a good book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

Fake News

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We live in a digital age of information. At the click of a button we have access to thousands, if not millions, of resources online. But can we trust all of this information? Unfortunately, no. For example, did you know the website MartinLutherKing.org is hosted by Stormfront, a white supremacist organization?

There has been an increase (perhaps explosion or pandemic) in recent years of fake news. But what is fake news? Fake news can be described as propaganda, a hoax, and/or misinformation that is purposely spread and published as real news – often using social media – with the intent to mislead for political or financial gains. Fake news will often utilize eye-catching headlines and images to increase sharing and views.

Categories of Fake News

There are a few different ways to categorize it, but generally fake news can be put into these categories:

  • False/ deceptive
    • Stories that are completely made up, no truth to them whatsoever (like the story about Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump for President)
    • Deliberately fabricated news that is intended to mislead or make money through clicks
    • Entirely fake news websites or “imposter sites” that are designed to look like a real/ credible website (like abcnews.com.co)
  • Satire/ parody/ jokes
    • Stories are purposefully fake with no intention to cause harm, but has the potential to fool people
    • Satire news, like content from The Onion, seeks to entertain and be humorous rather than mislead, but people can misinterpret the content as real
  • Slanted/ biased
    • Stories that contain truthful elements but they are selectively chosen (or omitted) to serve an agenda (like gaining headlines)
    • Certain content from Fox News, MSNBC, and others could fall under this category
  • Misleading
  • Manipulated
    • Content or imagery that is altered falls under this category
    • “Doctored” or “Photoshopped” images would also be included (like some of the 2012 viral photos from Hurricane Sandy)

The Very Brief History of Fake News

Fake news is nothing new. It has been around for many years. A trip to your local grocery or convenience store’s checkout lane will reveal a plethora of tabloids containing fictional or less than reputable information, often about celebrities; and these tabloids have been in publication for many years (some of which include the National Enquirer, National Examiner, New York Post, Globe, and Daily Mail). A 2017 NPR article explains that long before fake news, there were staged photos. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, tall-tale postcards emerged in the early 1900s with larger-than-life images of crops and animals, thanks to clever photography and darkroom tricks. Yellow journalism was a term coined in the 1890s to describe sensational news that is not well-researched but instead strives to be eye-catching to sell more newspapers.

Social Media (Fuel to the Fake News Flame)

If fake news is nothing new, why is at the forefront of current issues plaguing society? Insert social media.

Social media usage has exploded in the last several years. It has become part of everyday life. In fact, a 2016 survey from the Pew Research Center indicates that 62% of adults get their news from social media. This number is up from 49% in 2012. Social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., have become one stop shops for sharing content, interacting with others, and, you guessed it, getting news.

Sharing content on social media has never been easier. One or two clicks is all it takes. But did you take the time to read more than just the headline before you liked, commented, or shared? Is the source reputable? Unfortunately, fake news outlets use social media to their advantage because the before mentioned questions go unanswered, it is easy for them to share things too, they are able to reach a wide audience, and their headlines or images draw people in (also referred to as clickbait).

With so much information present on social media and the sharing of it, it can be easy to skim something and not realize it might be fake. People do not always take the time to fact check something before sharing or commenting.

How to Spot Fake News

There are a few quick and easy things you can look for to spot fake news. FactCheck.org has some great advice on how to spot fake news:

  • Consider the source
  • Read beyond the headline
  • Check the author
  • Check the supporting sources
  • Check the date
  • Is it a joke?
  • Check your biases
  • Ask the experts

It is easy to do a couple quick checks to identify fake or real news. But when in doubt, ask the experts – like librarians! Libraries are a trusted source of information. Utilizing librarians, library resources, and library databases is a great way of finding credible sources and information, and not to mention avoiding the possibility of running into fake news. Click here to explore the reliable databases available through the State Library.

Many libraries across the country are already working to combat the fake news problem. For example, many libraries are creating guides and resources.

The Harvard Library has created a guide that lists 5 ways to spot fake news:

  • Consider the source
  • Check the URL
  • Look for visual clues
  • Get a second opinion
  • Put your browser to work

Universities and schools are also fighting back against fake news. Librarians have partnered with the University of Michigan to offer a class on fake news called “Fake News, Lies, and Propaganda: How to Sort Fact from Fiction.”

Other things to look for to spot fake news:

  • ALL CAPS
  • Advertisements: excessive pop-ups, banners, etc.
  • Assess grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Use a reverse image search (like TinEye)
  • If you’re not sure it’s true, then don’t share or comment!

Preventing Fake News

While it is almost impossible to prevent fake news, we can, however, strive to prevent its spread.

  • Before sharing, commenting, or liking, it is paramount that you read past the title of the article.
  • Follow the steps to determine fake news and see if there are any red flags.
  • Put the article or source to the test and use a fact checking website.
  • Use the “Report” option on social media to flag fake news. Facebook and Twitter have options to flag posts that are spam, harmful, or inappropriate. Click the little downward arrow at the upper right of the post to report it.
  • When in doubt, chicken out. If you are not sure if the article is true or the source is reliable, then don’t share, like, comment, etc.

There is a lot of information out there, and that is unlikely to change. As more things become accessible online, we have to remain vigilant of what is credible and what is not. It is up to us to be responsible enough to decipher what is real and what it fake. Take advantage of the simple advice, the easy credibility checks, and the many resources at your disposal to win the war on fake news.

Resources

Handouts:

Fact Checking Websites:

Identifying the Source:

LibGuides:

Videos:

Additional Resources:

Examples of Fake News:

  • Fargo Man Arrested for Clearing Snow with Flamethrower
    • Source: FM Observer (clicking on their About page will reveal this message: “FM Observer provides farcical/satirical news and entertainment for the Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding area, as well as nationally. We are the greatest website you will ever visit in your entire human existence.”)
    • It is no secret that North Dakota can get a lot of snow, so something like this can easily catch someone’s interested because we all get sick of snow at some point and likely consider doing this to our snowbanks. This fake news article coincidentally resurfaces on social media each winter since it was first published in 2013.
    • Fact checking website Snopes has confirmed that this story is indeed FALSE.
    • Fake News category: Satire/ parody/ jokes
  • Vince Gilligan Announces Breaking Bad Season 6… (and this story also appeared on Facebook: Breaking Bad season 6 announced!!!) WARNING: these articles, although fake, do contain some spoilers about Breaking Bad.
    • Source: NBC? At first glance, it appears as though this article comes from NBC News. Look carefully at the URL. You’ll notice that it says “nbc.com.co”. Anytime “.co” is added to the end of a URL, you need to be suspicious of this news source and its content (this is an indicator that this source is not reliable). Also note that the official NBC logo is missing.
    • After 5 seasons, Breaking Bad aired its last episode in 2013. The show generated a large fan base, so it makes sense that people would get excited about seeing an article like this.
    • Fact checking website Snopes has confirmed that this story is indeed FALSE.
    • Fake News category: False/ deceptive
  • The Simpsons predicted the score of Super Bowl 51
    • You may have seen an image floating around on social media after the 2017 Super Bowl of The Simpsons. In the image (an example of which can be viewed here) the Atlanta Falcons appear to lose to the New England Patriots by a score of 28 to 34. It’s a miracle! …or it’s fake.
    • In the episode (“The Town” – season 28, episode 3), which aired in October 2016, the actual final score of the game is 23 to 21, and the teams are Springfield and Boston (image can be viewed here).
    • Clever photo editing was used to alter the image from The Simpsons episode.
    • Fact checking website Snopes has confirmed that this story is indeed FALSE.
    • Fake News category: Manipulated
  • Even NPR pulled a fast one on us: Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore? (and also on Facebook: What has become of our brains?)
    • Source: NPR (very reliable – except when they pull April Fools’ Day pranks)
    • NPR basically conducted an experiment with this April Fools’ Day article. They wanted to see how people would react. If you click on the article and read its content, it says “If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this ‘story’.” If you look at the Facebook comments, you can tell many people only looked at the title of this article.
    • Fake News category: Satire/ parody/ jokes

Additional Reading: