Instruction Uncategorized

Are there lizard people in your library?

What do lizard people have to do with libraries?  For an answer, check out Project information Literacy’s Provocation series. “Our occasional series features timely essays about what “literacy” means in all its manifestations. At a time when finding reliable news and information is more difficult than ever, we publish a new long-form essay every two months to spark discussions about pressing issues, ideas, and concerns.” (Project information Literacy, 2021.) On February 3., 2021, “Lizard People in the Library,” by Barbara Fister was posted to kick-off the series. Check it out here: Then come back here to talk about it. We’ll post a new question every week, and we welcome your thoughts.  Feel free to color outside the lines and answer questions we haven’t asked.

This week’s discussion question: Article databases, especially those that aim to represent multiple sides of contentious issues, may include content that promotes, as Fister puts it, “counter-factual beliefs.” How can we help students develop source evaluation skills and not just accept a source because it’s “from the library?”

3 replies on “Are there lizard people in your library?”

I agree that it is important to address this issue that you can’t just trust a source because it is from the library both in working with faculty and with students.

We can work with faculty to make source requirements on assignment handouts clear and to emphasize that source evaluation is necessary regardless of where the information is found (database, website, encyclopedia article…)

With students, I like the suggestion in Fister’s essay to have students reflect on their own code of ethics for what they find and share online. We can start with the strategies they are already using and then give them additional tools, such as the SIFT method by Mike Caulfield or the strategies outlined by Stanford’s Civic Online Reasoning Curriculum

I have a confession to make. I may have actually told students that finding something in the library was a valid data point in evaluating its usefulness. Fortunately, I don’t do much reference now, so I’ll leave the experts to fine-tune evaluation criteria.

This quote from the article struck me: “The low social status of teachers and librarians,” aren’t we universally admired except when it comes to salary? Which I guess is proof that we’re not really admired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *