February 2017

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Parents and educators “need to teach information literacy as soon as children can push a button.”
Carla Hayden, PhD, 14th librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden, PhD, 14th librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden, PhD, 14th librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden, PhD, former president of the American Library Association and the 14th librarian of the US Congress, says that information literacy is key to addressing fake news. “Librarians have been pounding on this issue in a different way for a while—just having computer literacy is great, but as information professionals, we’re always looking at what’s the most authoritative source for the information and teaching information literacy. It’s great to have all this stuff, but you need to teach how to use the library.”
Dr. Hayden promotes the valuable service libraries offer and understands the important role libraries play in communities. From school and local libraries to the Library of Congress, she sees professional library staff as resources who give unbiased, nonpartisan information and will provide answers to questions about fake versus factual news. Because of their long-standing reputation as stewards of information, libraries and librarians should be “double lines” in everyone’s Constellation of Support. They are the “go to” fact checkers for accurate information on any subject matter, including government. This link shows the wide range of online resources libraries offer for government information:
For some people, libraries are their sole resource to electronically access information they may need for their health, job, and families. As many businesses, health providers, and government agencies now use electronic formats as their only means of contact, libraries provide everyone with online computer services, free of charge. They thus enable all members of the community, regardless of income bracket, to find needed information. Additionally, in times of disaster, the library may be the only functioning source for contacting critical government services for people from all walks of life.
And while the services of skilled librarians and the resources of libraries are invaluable, individuals also need critical-thinking skills to navigate the information-gathering process and to evaluate multiple sources of information. This is where BrainWise CPR tools are needed, including knowing how to use Wizard Brain thinking, build a Constellation of Support, recognize red flag warnings, manage emotions, separate fact from opinion, ask the right questions, identify choices, consider consequences, set goals, and communicate effectively. BrainWise graduates recognize that solving problems requires them to wisely assess a situation, and using credible resources is part of this process. BrainWise provides the foundation for information literacy by teaching skills that prevent and solve problems associated with the assimilation and dissemination of information.