February 2nd, 2021

Credibility Anchors and Thought Leadership

Our communities need to be able to rely on libraries and librarians to be "credibility anchors" and "thought leaders" with regard to credible information sources and shared facts.

But how can we accomplish this?

Libraries and library professionals should model and deploy disinformation-busting strategies like:

1. Engagement with and countering of "post truth" ideas by publicly and transparently fact checking harmful narratives using credible information sources.

2. Design of multimodal guides and messaging (on sites like library websites, newspapers, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.), authored by dedicated library & information science thought leaders, for deployment to our libraries and librarians who don't have time to develop resources themselves.

3. Work together as professionals to raise awareness of common challenges, test strategies, and reimagine solutions.

Let's take ambitious "next steps" together!!!

Tags: Accuracy, Disinformation, information literacy, Local newspapers, Media, Twitter, Verification, YouTube

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Comments (4)

Comments (4)

Hi Kristen,

I share the opinion that librarians must be at the forefront of combatting disinformation. What role do you think librarians can play in empowering the public with the the knowledge and skills that are necessary in order to assess the credibility information? The role of libraries and librarians as both a voice in the fight against disinformation, and as an educational resource that promotes information literacy, is critical for our communities. I love the idea of libraries and librarians as credibility anchors and thought leaders, and I would add to that their role as information literacy educators.

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Hi Marybeth - thank you for your comment!

I really like the potential connections that public libraries and librarians can make with researchers in the field of informal learning design.

In my own doctoral research, I designed "informal" information and media literacy activities for kids in afterschool programs. Service learning students from University of California San Diego helped researchers interact with the kids.

Similar to many summer reading programs, when kids completed an activity, they received a raffle ticket. Drawings occurred at the end of the semester for bigger (donated) items, school supplies, and other small toys.

It was really fun and motivating for the kids to complete the activities. I can imagine that new instructional programs could be deployed in public libraries with service learning and public school partners.

Libraries are already leaders in afterschool but we can do more!


Hi Kristen:

Thanks for joining our conversation.

Have you tried any of these approaches? If so, how did it go? If not, what are the first steps to doing so?

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Many library organizations have already taken the first steps toward challenging harmful narratives by authoring press releases that articulate and clarify important positions on a variety of issues. Taking these efforts further via issue guides or more robust releases that are published in new venues would represent important first steps.

Importantly: the sustainability of efforts will require people that are employed/dedicated to doing this work.

As an LIS educator, I've released position papers on LinkedIn to draw attention to and spur conversation via social media. I also host a blog that highlights international (research driven) voices on tough issues like diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field and publish in open access venues to raise the accessibility of ideas. These steps work well in that they help folks form connections and get new ideas that they can then apply to their own (local) contexts.

To me, deployment of rich content from thought leaders at places like ALA or Kluge helps librarians by giving them tools to raise important issues locally.