Opening Session speaker Sally Yates addresses attendees at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 21, 2018.

Objective Truth Will Save Democracy

March 22, 2018

Yates, former deputy attorney general in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Obama administration and former acting attorney general, is perhaps best known for refusing to defend President Trump’s ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries and her testimony before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about Russian interference in the 2016 … Continue reading Objective Truth Will Save Democracy

At Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Civic Data Zine Camp, young adults learned data literacy concepts by presenting statistical narratives and visualizations in a handmade zine format. Photo: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Engaging Civic-Minded Teens

March 1, 2018

But what about data literacy? Did librarians tackle charts and graphs as much as headlines? And what about teens, who are often overlooked in the context of civic and voter preparedness? Increasingly, librarians are addressing these questions by bringing statistical education and opportunities to young adults—and they’re using massive collections of open civic datasets to … Continue reading Engaging Civic-Minded Teens

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

December 19, 2017

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

Raymond Pun

Campus Sustainability through Information Literacy

September 12, 2017

This column is one in a multipart American Libraries series that explores the library profession’s relationship to sustainability. When I first started working at Fresno State as the first-year student success librarian in 2015, a colleague referred my name to a team of science professors in this program. From there, I began attending weekly meetings and contributing … Continue reading Campus Sustainability through Information Literacy

Meredith Farkas

Framework Freakout?

September 1, 2017

In some ways, the Framework was a major departure from ACRL’s previous Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Organized around six information literacy threshold concepts, the Framework is not an exhaustive list of threshold concepts or dispositions and practices. Instead, its developers encouraged libraries to determine their own programmatic learning outcomes based on local … Continue reading Framework Freakout?

From left: Marale Sande, senior research and policy analyst at the Parliament of Kenya; Avelina Morales Robles, from Mexico's Cámara de Diputados; and Leonor Calvão Borges from the Library of the Assembleia da República at the "Parliament and the People: Transparency, Openness, and Engagement” session.

Call for Transparency: Day Three at IFLA WLIC

August 23, 2017

Questions of transparency and access were explored on the third day of the International Federation of Library of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Wroclaw, Poland. In a nod to the topics, many of the August 22 sessions included a Q&A or structured discussion, bringing together many voices and political … Continue reading Call for Transparency: Day Three at IFLA WLIC

Joseph Janes

Facts through Fresh Eyes

June 1, 2017

The course also covers things you’re less likely to find in Libraryland on a regular basis: design thinking, user experience, interface design, accessibility, data science, visualization techniques, information assurance, and cybersecurity. As an exercise, I gave students several excerpts from the World Almanac, ranging from birthstones to home-run leaders to statistics on homeschooled students and … Continue reading Facts through Fresh Eyes

Meredith Farkas

Information Literacy Toolkits

May 1, 2017

Two recent publications envision this type of instruction as a shared responsibility of the librarian and the disciplinary instructor. The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in 2016, represents a significant departure from the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. It recognizes … Continue reading Information Literacy Toolkits

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden delivers the closing address at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference in Baltimore on March 25, 2017.

ACRL Closes with Carla Hayden

March 27, 2017

Social justice and information literacy The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions has declared that information literacy is a human right. If it’s a human right, what does this look like in practice? That question fueled the Social Justice and Information project discussed in “What’s Social Justice Got to Do with Information Literacy?” a … Continue reading ACRL Closes with Carla Hayden

Fake news (illustration by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

Fighting Fake News

December 27, 2016

Given the care that librarians bring to this task, the recent explosion in unverified, unsourced, and sometimes completely untrue news has been discouraging, to say the least. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of US adults are getting their news in real time from their social media feeds. These are often uncurated spaces … Continue reading Fighting Fake News

Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Information Literacy

November 1, 2016

If libraries are a cornerstone of our democracy, librarians are the key to their riches. Librarians are also the key to enabling library users to unlock those riches on their own, whether through one-time bibliographic instruction or a more embedded form of instruction—information literacy. At its January 2016 meeting, the board of directors of the … Continue reading Information Literacy