Category Archives: Library Services

Book Drop Alternative

The North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries includes requirements for libraries having a secure, after-hours book return.

Book-returns can be expensive to purchase or replace. A Demco product, for example, can run $800–$4,000. We recognize that this price range isn’t possible for some libraries, so we have found a solution. Consider using an architectural mailbox like this one:

Book Return

The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop Box ranges in price from $220–$320 and comes in four different colors. It can easily be bolted into the cement outside of your library and treated like a regular book drop (at a fraction of the cost). This drop box satisfies the standard to have an after-hours book return at your library and allows your patrons to safely return their materials at their convenience.

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Girls Who Code

The North Dakota State Library is excited to announce its partnership with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code brings computer science opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school girls in your community—no coding experience is necessary to facilitate a weekly club.

After signing up, facilitators will receive access to the club curriculum completely free and can learn to code right alongside the students.

3–5th grade club: This club is run similar to a book club and does not need computer access. Books are provided for free. Check out the sample curriculum here.

6–12th grade club: This club does require computer access for each participant. To view the learning platform and sample curriculum, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit the online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
  2. Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” This does not obligate you to host a club.
  3. Click on the different icons to learn more about the clubs.

To learn more about the Girls Who Code organization, you can check out these links: Overview; Club Summary

To apply to host a club, click here. Remember to indicate North Dakota State Library as your partner affiliation.

For more information, please contact Abby Ebach at aebach@nd.gov or 701-328-4680.

Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit

The “Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit” has been released. Members of AASL (American Association of School Librarians), ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) worked together for three years to create a document that benefits both school librarians and public librarians by encouraging them working together collaboratively.

This toolkit provides 5 chapters full of research, information, and examples for librarians to look towards when beginning collaboration initiatives between school and public libraries. There are also scrips and tips for both school and public librarians on how to overcome their different institutional hurdles.

Working together makes libraries and communities stronger. Look through the toolkit here.

ALSC put together a brief explanation of the toolkit here and has a list of successful past partnerships between school and public libraries that can be found here.

Telescope Kit Resources

One of the many STEM kits the North Dakota State Library has available through KitKeeper are 3 telescope kits. Each kit includes: 1 Orion StarBlast telescope, 1 Orion EZ Finder II red-dot sight, 1 copy of Night Watch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson,  5 eyepieces (6mm, 6mm, 12.5mm, 17mm, & 20mm), 1 2x Barlow lens, and 4 filters (moon, red, blue, & yellow).

The kit also includes a guide, which has a list of a few potential activities libraries can plan to go along with this kit. The sky is the limit (pun intended) on activities relating to telescopes, astronomy, and the universe, and this list functions as a starting point for ideas. All of the ideas listed on the guide have resources available online, which can be accessed at the links below along with some resources for the telescope itself.

Telescope:

Stars:

The Moon:

Solar System Scale:

Planets:

Word Search:

Teen Book Clubs in Your Library

Are you looking to start a book club for teens at your library? A teen book club can be challenging in the beginning but will be rewarding once it is started. New teen programs may need to wait until there is an established group of teens that regularly attend programs or a Teen Advisory Group before they start a book club. This ensures that there will be active, regular participation.

Here are some resources to help you get started creating a book club for teens:

 Types of Book Clubs:

Traditional Book Club

In traditional book clubs, participants all read the same book and discuss it at the next meeting. This type of book club works well in larger systems where programs either have the funding to purchase books for members or an ILL system capacity to lend the materials out to every participant.

One of the challenges of a traditional book club is finding books that most of your readers will enjoy. Especially at the beginning, it’s important to talk to your readers about what genres and types of books they want. Consider crafting a ballot with 6 options and having everyone vote for their top three. Select the next 3 months’ books based on the tallied votes.

When choosing books, remember that some books are easier to discuss in a group than others. To encourage a more productive discussion, consider choosing character-driven novels with unique plot elements. Let students lead the discussion by focusing on what elements they think are interesting and relevant to their lives.

It’s also important to remember that teens are coming to this club willingly, and you are not assigning these books as homework. Let the teens know that it’s OK to not finish the book or to not like a book, but that you still want them to come to the book club to share those opinions.

To spice up this book club, consider adding book-related activities or snacks. These are great ice-breakers for both quieter students and new members, and it will help everyone feel included.

Genre Book Club

A genre book club has participants read different books but all of the books are from the same genre. The book club may have a different genre every month (fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novel, mystery, etc.) or maintain the same genre for the duration of the club (a mystery lover’s book club or science fiction book club, for example). Then, during the meeting, each member talks about the book that they read/are currently reading.

This book club format allows teens to read at their own pace and reading level and still be able to discuss books with their peers. As each member takes a turn talking about their book (often either recommending it to others or telling them to steer clear), they should try to avoid spoiling major plot-twists. This is a great way for peers to encourage each other to read new books rather than having an adult tell them what to read.

During the meeting, the club leader can try to direct the discussion towards common themes and elements within the certain genre as well as flaws with the genre, what is noticeably absent or taken for granted? This encourages the students to think deeper about the genres and the books they have chosen

Book Lovers Club

Come one, come all to a book lovers club. All participants are welcome to come to this book club. This simple club is more of a gathering for book enthusiasts to talk about what they’re currently reading and share recommendations. This is an easy gathering for teens to hang out and have a snack or to just attend and listen about all of the fun, wacky, or wild books their peers are reading. Discussions tend to be less structured in this type of book club, but if your goal is to keep teens reading and engaged, this may be the perfect place to start.

 

Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure participants know that it’s OK to not like or finish a book; encourage them to come to book club anyways to share their opinions.
  • Combine forces with public librarians, local book store owners, and Library Media Specialists at the middle and high school levels to find interested individuals or different places to host the book club.
  • Remember that not all of your books need to be brand new. These are often expensive or have long waiting lists at the library. Choose books that are a few years older so that if you purchase them, they are more than likely available in paperback and if you request or ILL them, they probably won’t have a waiting list.
  • Give your participants buy-in by letting them vote for future titles or submit requests.
  • Supply snacks or other incentives

 

Book Club Questions to Get Teens Talking:

  1. What did you like best/least about this book?
  2. What characters did you like/dislike the most?
  3. Would you read another book by this author?
  4. Did you think the book was too long or short? What important elements were missing? What parts would you have cut out?
  5. What do you think of the book’s title and cover? Do they do a good job conveying what the book is about or were they misleading?
  6. Is this book or storyline unique?
  7. Did the characters and world seem believable or realistic?
  8. How did you feel about the ending? Did it wrap everything up or leave you hanging? Are you satisfied about the ending?
  9. Did the book make you think about anything differently?
  10. Would this book make a good movie? Why or why not?

 

YA and Juvenile Book Club Kits from NDSL through KitKeeper (as of 4-1-2018):

  • After Ever After; Jordan Sonnenblick
  • An Abundance of Katherines; John Green
  • Dairy Queen; Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Don’t Tell Anyone; Peg Kehret
  • Fahrenheit 451; Ray Bradbury
  • Flygirl; Sherri L. Smith
  • Frankenstein; Mary Shelley
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Msr. Basil E. Frankweiler; E.L. Konisgsburg
  • Going Vintage; Lindsey Leavitt
  • Heist Society; Ally Carter
  • I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban; Malala Yousafzei
  • Maximum Ride #1: The Angel Experiment; James Patterson
  • My Name is Not Easy; Debby Dahl Edwardson
  • The Book Thief; Markus Zusak
  • The Complete Maus; Art Spiegelman
  • The Fault in Our Stars; John Green
  • The Giver; Lois Lowry
  • The Maze Runner; James Dashner
  • Thirteen Reasons Why; Jay Asher

 

Helpful Websites:

ALA Book Discussion Groups: http://libguides.ala.org/bookdiscussiongroups

Book Riot: https://bookriot.com/2017/09/13/ideas-teen-book-club-ilibrary/

Penguin: http://www.penguin.com/read/book-clubs/create/

Teel Librarian Toolbox: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2017/03/teen-book-club-creating-a-place-to-read-and-belong-a-guest-post-by-sheri-schubbe/

Teen Services Underground: https://www.teenservicesunderground.com/how-to-run-a-teen-book-club/

YALSA: The Hub; http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2015/12/11/teen-book-clubs-library/

EBSCO Under Fire

It has recently been brought to our attention at the North Dakota State Library that EBSCO databases have been under fire from groups based in Colorado, alleging their databases contain pornographic material. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure worried librarians, teachers, and parents that these accusations are false. When this came to our attention we did our own research into the EBSCO databases accused of harboring this type of material. We did not find anything inappropriate.

The group that was cited when this was brought to our attention is the National Center for Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), formerly called Morality in Media. It is our goal at the State Library to help librarians and teachers identify credible resources that show both sides of an issue. This organization is not what we would consider a credible resource. When reading the site you can see that the organization is presenting their side of an issue rather than all sides involved. The National Center for Sexual Exploitation has what they call a “Dirty Dozen List” that is published each year to highlight the companies they consider “facilitators of sexual exploitation.” EBSCO has been on their list for several years now and other notables on the list are the American Library Association (ALA) and Amnesty International.

EBSCO databases have both scholarly reviewed materials and popular publication materials. The content of these popular press magazines are what have brought EBSCO under fire. One of the most common examples that NCOSE likes to use is the article “How to be a Better Bottom.” This article was published in April 2017 by Dr. Evan Goldstein in the periodical The Advocate. This article is from a popular press magazine, not a scholarly reviewed one. When we teach students, teachers, and other librarians how to do proper scholarly research, we always make sure to tell them to search by ‘scholarly reviewed’ items. This article does not appear when a search is done in that way. However, this article may be useful to those who are studying sexual health or those who are exploring their sexuality. Therefore, it should not be censored from databases.

As librarians, our goal is to never censor information from the masses. School libraries have firewalls and filters in place to protect students from material that could be harmful to them. Public libraries do not filter to the same extent, because they serve people of all ages. I would like to share a small portion of a letter from the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, James LaRue. In this letter to a different public library LaRue states,

“Our office is aware of no reports of any minor seeking or finding illegal or even pornographic content through EBSCO. Thus far, the searching [by NCOSE] is done by adults, usually following relatively sophisticated searching techniques that involve multiple steps. Moreover, these searches are conducted at home, where the internet connection is not filtered. If minors were in fact seeking sexual content, it’s unlikely that they would start with EBSCO. Nor would they start with filtered library catalogs. They would use their home computers or mobile phones and Google.”

Libraries are now falling between a rock and a hard place. Which really is not a new position for libraries. Librarians want to respect everyone’s wishes but in doing that, some are left unhappy. This is a tight-rope that librarians walk every single day. While we at the State Library suggest you should always listen to the concerns raised by patrons, we do believe that you should do your own research as well.

Even though the concerns about EBSCO were raised by what seemed to be a spam Facebook account (which has since been deleted), we take any challenge to the appropriateness of library materials seriously. We always hear the person out and explore their claim. In this case, we have found no evidence supporting the accusations against the EBSCO databases. We used the search techniques we teach and found none of the material that EBSCO is accused of promoting.

In this case, the situation boiled down to a simple choice for us. We could bow to political pressures leveraged by an out-of-state organization seeking to discredit schools, libraries, and the resources they provide. Or we could stand by the principles of Intellectual Freedom and affirm the right for everyone to have access to high quality research tools. We chose the latter.

If you have heard about this and would like to discuss ways to assure your patrons and parents that EBSCO is a reputable database please give us a call at the State Library. Your library development specialist would be happy to help.

 

**Special thanks to James LaRue for sharing his letter to the Arapahoe Libraries from July 2017.

Trendy Transformations

[updated December 2017]

Another North Dakota Library Association (NDLA) conference is in the books, and what a wonderful conference it was! There were great keynote speakers and sessions. The 2017 theme was: Libraries Transform. The idea of transforming ourselves and libraries was prevalent during the pre-conferences, keynotes, and sessions.

For me, John Spears, Chief Librarian and CEO of the Pikes Peak Library District, kicked off the transformation subject with his pre-conference session “The Nitty-Gritty of Transforming Your Library, Your Community…and Yourself.” In his session, Mr. Spears said don’t transform and seek change just for the sake of doing it. Change for a reason. Transform to meet a need.

So what are some “trending” library transformations? Some trendy transformations include (all of which were discussed at some point at the conference):

Do away with overdue fines

Ask yourself these questions: What is the point of overdue fines? Do overdue fines work?

Basically, library fines exist to punish patrons who did not abide by the rules. The patron is late returning the book and potentially causing another patron to wait even longer for the item. But should libraries be places that punish patrons? Is that their purpose?

Fines function almost as a scare tactic. Patrons can fear fines, and as a result, they can fear libraries. Return the book or else! Return the book or we’ll send the Seinfeld library cop after you! Does this scare tactic work? In one way it does. Think about this: it can scare people away from the library completely.

Fines are stressful (for patrons and libraries). Think about how much time and effort is spent on fines by library staff. Is that time/ effort worth it?

Is this a radical idea that may ruffle some feathers? Possibly. Nobody ever said transformation was easy. But can change result in better outcomes (even if the change seems scary)? Absolutely.

Do some research on this topic and conduct a test to see if this is right for your library. Many libraries across the country are already abolishing fines.

  • Fallon, C. (2017). Libraries are dropping overdue fines – but can they afford to? Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2i9vpmc
  • Graham, R. (2017). Long overdue: Why public libraries are finally eliminating the late-return fine. Slate. Retrieved from http://slate.me/2lfNcEL
  • Marx, A.W. (2017). The case against library fines – according to the head of the New York Public Library. Quartz. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2kkJ5Ju
  • Pyatetsky, J. (2016). The end of overdue fines? Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2xDxb6i

Genrefication (do away with Dewey and LC)

Genrefication is the process of organizing, classifying, and categorizing items into genres. This is the bookstore method of organizing books. This classification is much easier for patrons, and this is why bookstores use it. To the bookstores, when patrons can find books easier they have a better experience and are likely to buy more books.

Organizing books by genres and subgenres makes it much easier to browse, and a lot of times this is what patrons want to do. Many patrons do not have experience with Dewey or LC. They may have learned it, but that was many years ago. Or they’ve never learned it so why are they expected to know it?

It is also important to point out that children do not learn about decimals until mid-elementary school.

Genrefication is particularly popular in school libraries and other libraries with smaller collections. Libraries who have switched to this method have reported increased circulation.

SOPAC

A SOPAC, or shared online public access catalog, allows patrons to add their own keywords and subject headings. This was brought up during the John Spears pre-conference. The example he provided is “heart attack.” The official subject heading for “heart attack” is “myocardial infarction.” It’s possible the average patron may now know or remember this. Why not make your online catalog more user-friendly?

Layout

This trendy transformation was discussed on the last day of the conference during Doug Johnson’s keynote: “Changed But Still Critical: Brick and Mortar Libraries in the Digital Age.” Doug Johnson is the Director of Technology for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Public Schools. He said during his presentation that the layout of the library matters. Some of the things he said is to do away with the traditional study carrels and invest in short shelving with wheels for improved mobility when the library is reorganized down the road. Basically he said to think outside of the box instead of doing things the old fashioned way.

Why continue to do something because it’s something you’ve always done? If you think about it, that’s not a good reason.

Readers Advisory Resources

[Updated November 2017]

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:

Fake News

[updated September 2018]

Fake News:
t
he history, hysteria, and hype –
and how to see through the subterfuge

fake-1903774_1280

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 nationalist organization?

What is Fake News?

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.

The Very Brief History of Fake News

Fake news is nothing new. It has been around for many years. Fake news could even be traced back to the fall of the Knights Templar in the early 1300s.

A 2017 NPR article explains that long before fake news, there were staged photos.

Yellow journalism is 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.

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.

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, Star, Globe, and Weekly World News).

Social Media (fuel to the fake news flame)

If fake news is nothing new, why is it 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 indicated 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.

Social media cannot be completely blamed, however. People moving away from newspapers, television, and radio to get their news; lack of media literacy; the ease of creating a blog or posting your own stories online; our tendency to trust what we see on the internet; and our tendency to trust the information we receive from friends and family are all contributing factors.

Consequences (so there’s fake news, so what?)

It’s safe to assume we can all agree that fake news is a problem. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey, 88% of adults say fake news is either causing some or great confusion about current events and basic facts.

Okay, fake news is a problem; but why is it such a big deal? Well, according to the same Pew Research Center survey, about one in four adults has reported sharing fake news, whether they were aware of it at the time or not.

And that is just with adults. Children and teens are also susceptible to fake news. In a study conducted by Stanford University:

  • Over 80% of middle schoolers thought an example of “sponsored content” was a real news story
  • Over 30% of high school students thought a fake Fox News account was more reliable than the real one
  • Sam Wineburg, lead author of the report, said, “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite to be true.” (Source: report’s press release)

Fakes news has sometimes received more views, shares, etc. than real news. The top 20 election stories on Facebook (from August to November 2016) received the following engagements:

Even journalists and politicians have been known to share or reference fake news. Fake news stories have even spiraled out of control and led to violence (like the “Pizzagate” incident).

A 2018 article from The Atlantic states fake news/ misinformation has fueled the spread of certain health risks, like diseases, not receiving vaccinations, etc.

People often fall victim to fake news because they don’t fact check; the story supports their argument, position, or belief; or the amount of information available is too overwhelming.

So here is the bottom line: fake news is dangerous.

What is the Point of Fake News? (why do people create fake news in the first place?)

  1. Money
    • The ugly truth behind fake news: there is big money to be made. The money comes from advertisements. The more clicks/views received, the more ads there are (which results in more money).
    • So when it comes to fake news, the more shocking the headline, the more potential for clicks and shares (and money of course).
    • In 2016, a teen in Macedonia made $16,000 between August and November with his pro-Trump websites.
  2. Agenda
    • Some examples of fake news have an agenda. They want you to get “fired up” and join their “dark side”.
  3. Joke
    • Some fake news is just a joke. It is meant to humor and entertain.
  4. Slander
    • Some stories are created with the purpose of damaging reputations.
  5. Other
    • And the list goes on and on.

Categories of Fake Stuff

Fake news has become a rather broad term. Its use has evolved into basically describing anything that might be fake (hoaxes, urban legends, traditional fake news, misinformation, etc.). So when breaking things down into categories, it can be more beneficial to use the technical/ scientific term “fake stuff.” There are a few different ways to categorize fake stuff, but generally it can be put into these five categories:

  1. False/ deceptive
  2. Misleading
    • Stories that contain no established baseline for truth but promote an agenda
    • These stories will often take a tiny shred of factual information, give it their own spin, and run off with it in a completely different direction
    • Examples that fall under this category are intended to “rile you up” (like the story about the craziest person in Congress, Rep. Steve King, wanting to investigate everyone but President Trump)
    • Conspiracy theories and propaganda tend to fall into this category
  3. Slanted/ biased
    • Stories that contain truthful elements but certain facts are selectively chosen or omitted to serve an agenda (like gaining headlines)
    • The stories that fall under this category are not necessarily false. The stories report true news, but they do so in a biased way.
    • Certain content from Fox News, MSNBC, and others could fall under this category (Fox News, The Washington Times, MSNBC, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, etc. don’t have to be completely avoided, but just be aware that biases may exist).
  4. 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 of Hurricane Sandy)
  5. Humor (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

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:

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. In fact, a 2017 Pew Research Center survey listed libraries at the most 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 North Dakota 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.”

Many universities and colleges are adopting the CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose).

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 like, share, or comment!

Only You Can Prevent Fake News

While it is almost impossible to prevent fake news, we can, however, strive to prevent its spread. If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Let’s all be part of the solution by following these steps:

  • Before sharing, commenting, or liking, it is paramount that you read past the title of the article.
  • Follow the steps from FactCheck.org, Harvard, and others to identify fake news and determine if there are any red flags.
  • Put the article or source to the test and use a fact checking website (like Snopes).
  • Use the “Report” option on social media to flag posts that are spam, harmful, or inappropriate. Click the dots or downward arrow at the upper right of the post to report it (check out this video about reporting fake news on Facebook if you need additional assistance).
  • Be responsible – Don’t try to fool people by sharing something that could be mistaken as a real story (like the person who intentionally tweeted a fake image of a shark swimming through the streets of Houston).
  • 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. Think before you share.

There is a lot of information online, 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 & Flyers:

Fact Checking Websites:

Identifying the Source:

LibGuides:

Videos:

Resources for Schools, Classrooms, & Educators:

Additional Resources:

Additional Reading:

  • Akpan, N. (2017). Everyone is too distracted to stop fake news, study shows. PBS Newshour. Retrieved from http://to.pbs.org/2sK1O5Y
  • Alvarez, B. (2017). Public libraries in the age of fake news. Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2iSOmcx
  • Biersdorfer, J.D. (2017) Twitter bot – or not? New York Times. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/2qMshfs
  • Davis, W. (2016). Fake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts. NPR. Retrieved from http://n.pr/2hbEsl3
  • Domonoske, C. (2016). Students have “dismaying” inability to tell fake news from real, study finds. NPR. Retrieved from http://n.pr/2ggms4o
  • Lohr, S. (2018). It’s true: False news spreads faster and wilder. And humans are to blame. New York Times. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/2G7aWGI
  • Solon, O. (2017). The future of fake news: Don’t believe everything you read, see or hear. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2uW9IuY
  • Tufekci, Z. (2018). YouTube, the great radicalizer. New York Times. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/2FxTePz
  • Weissman, C.G. (2017). The question isn’t if Facebook can fix its problems – it’s how much it wants to. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2ga08zf

Homeless in the Library

[updated June 2018]

Public libraries are much more than places where an elderly woman, with horn-rimmed glasses and her hair in a bun, shushes you every time you even think about speaking (common misconception). Libraries are community and cultural centers where individuals gather to explore, interact, learn, and read.

Also, libraries are often havens for people with nowhere else to go. Public libraries can be sanctuaries for the homeless. Libraries are a safe place for them to use the computers, read, attend programs, learn, utilize library services, etc. (which are the same reasons everyone else visits the library). Libraries have a responsibility to serve the homeless that come through their doors and treat them like any other patron.

In fact, some public libraries now have social workers in their buildings who are there to help the homeless. Other libraries have even moved to be open 24 hours a day, but this trend has come with some debate.

Homelessness and libraries is even making its way to the big screen. The Public, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, is set in Cincinnati as a brutal cold front moves in, which then prompts a group of homeless patrons to refuse to leave the public library at closing time because they’ve learned the city’s shelters are all full. Check out the movie trailer here: https://youtu.be/HF2NOf3EkgE

According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Services and Responsibilities of Libraries, ALA “promotes equal access to information for all persons, and recognizes the urgent need to respond to the increasing number of poor children, adults, and families in America… Therefore it is crucial that libraries recognize their role in enabling poor people to participate fully in a democratic society, by utilizing a wide variety of available resources and strategies.”

The Federal definition of a chronically homeless person is “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, OR (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years,” and homeless is defined as “a person sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g. living on the streets, for example) OR living in a homeless emergency shelter” (Defining Chronic Homelessness: A Technical Guide for HUD Programs).

So with all of that in mind, here are some great resources for libraries on providing services to homeless patrons:

State Resources

ALA Resources

Other Resources

Articles

  • Barrows, P.K. (2014). Serving the needs of homeless library patrons: Legal issues, ethical concerns, and practical approaches. SJSU SLIS Student Research Journal. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2oBPSkm
  • Debczak, M. (2016). This library provides social services to homeless patrons. Mental Floss. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2FhTG3r
  • Dowd, R.J. (2018). The librarian’s guide to homelessness. American Libraries. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2JTTFG4
  • Lynch, J. (2016). Spartanburg library, homeless patrons, and the golden rule. TechSoup for Libraries. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2zSqDx6
  • Mars, A. (2013). Library service to the homeless. Public Libraries Online. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2oDv7ED
  • Quinton, S. (2016). Enlisting public libraries to help fight homelessness. Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/235JZLQ
  • Ruhlmann, E. (2014). A home to the homeless: Libraries offer refuge and support to those in need and help foster a new community approach to homelessness. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2F85aHN
  • Shaw, A. & Rosansky. (2016). Services for the homeless at libraries. ProQuest. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2fWbZLA