January 29th, 2021

The Intelligence Trap

An important tool in delivering credible information is to not be rushed in the vetting process. Most of my memorable mistakes have been made when I too little time and attention were given to the process.
One of my favorite sources for sharing the process of vetting useful information is, "The Intelligence Trap", by David Robson. The book not only covers why and how we make cognitive errors but includes inciteful advice on preventing falling into these "traps". Chapter 6 is titled, "A BS Detection KIt", and is ready made for sharing to open minds.
Of course sharing facts in near to impossible if a bias has overcome the critical thinking of an individual. One of ideas I have tried to pursue in our community is seeking ideas to advance individuals and businesses on non-divisive issues and volunteering solutions to drive home the point that the Library is a source for credible information.
The question I have been pursuing is how do Libraries convince the public that they are the go to source for helping everyone with finding answers to their questions.

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Comments (3)

Comments (3)


I enjoyed reading your post and wish to address a few points:

I agree that the one should not rush into the vetting process, but vetting often occurs unbeknownst to the individual. Our tendencies to ponder and inquire about the information we are presented with can be declared a form of early vetting. Granted, jumping head-first into a source with an overly skeptical mindset can be unfavorable to the comprehension of dialogue, but developing a natural ability to think critically produces some profound results.

I applaud your work in the community. Focusing on non-divisive issues can soften the impact of divisive issue when they arise. I would love to hear about some of your ideas and solutions.

As for your question, I believe that we have yet to convince a large portion of the population of the relevancy and need of libraries in society. The Internet is still seen by many as a viable replacement for what librarians do, and now the Internet is also seen by many as a viable source for all required information. Changing the minds of many will be difficult, but grass-root approaches always seem to work best in these situations. Libraries provide communities with programs that inspire, entertain, assist, etc...but how often do we offer programs that make use of our skills as information specialists? We need to advocate and demonstrate the worth of libraries at the local level and move up from there. Perhaps, through these steps, the public will find it easier to view libraries as beacons of credible information and answers.

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Hi Ron and Fabio:

This is a terrific discussion about the role of libraries and how to strengthen the message that librarians are information specialists.


I have to agree that many people do not see the relevance or value of libraries. I have long believed this is due to the stereotypes of libraries as merely places for books or student study groups depicted in movies and TV (maybe a place to look up old murders on microfilm). I never see libraries portrayed as information hubs or library programming. How can we change the minds of people who never use a library and only view it through the lens of entertainment media?