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Wednesday, February 7 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Session 2.3 Juried Panel: '"F*** That": Why Fake News and the Weaponization of Information are Good for LIS

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In the US, recent developments in the information environment have created a national mood of distrust and highlighted the need for increased information/media/digital literacy. While some politicians and journalists have come to see the value of educating the public; it is problematic for LIS that neither of these players identified that “education” for what it really is, information literacy/fluency. Nor did they connect that solution to LIS. Why? The panel will answer this question and discuss how and why challenges created by the current information environment should be viewed as opportunities for improving LIS education as well as challenging perceptions of the profession.
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It is unlikely that Tim Berners-Lee foresaw the extent to which his Hypertext Markup Language would disrupt the lives of the American people, let alone the lives of people across the globe. Perhaps the most far-reaching have been the ongoing accusations and revelations of fake news and media bias among journalists and politicians in the United States. The most concerning is, perhaps, the global implications of information as weapon . 
These developments have resulted in an information environment of distrust, where the notion of a universal truth is virtually non-existent. In this information environment, individuals seemingly choose their own truth. Also problematic is the general idea that any information with which one disagrees can be labeled “fake.” This has created a national mood (Kingdon, 2010) of distrust, which speaks to the obvious need for increased information/media/digital literacy in the United States, as LIS stakeholders have long acknowledged. As Wineburg points out, “Online civic literacy is a core skill that should be insinuated into the warp and woof of education as much as possible” (Banks, 2016, para. 16). 
This idea also appears to be gaining some traction among politicians and journalists, as several have recently suggested “educating the public” as one way of staving off the types of attack the US recently experienced during the 2016 Presidential Election; however, it is problematic for LIS that neither of these players identified that “education” for what it really is, information literacy/fluency. Nor did they connect it to LIS and the fact that libraries represent a ready-made infrastructure through which this education could actually begin to take place. There was no connection made between Library and Information Science as a discipline and what the US has been experiencing with regard to fake news, the weaponization of information, or the need for information literacy/fluency. This gap is reflective of the longstanding disconnect between the public and Library and Information Science i.e., the public’s general lack of knowledge regarding the discipline and practical applications of the profession (Kenney, 2013), as well as challenges to its legitimacy as a profession (Lonergan, 2009).
Regarding issues of digital literacy, Jaeger et al. (2012) contend that public libraries should have a seat at the policymaking table. They note that more strategic involvement in the policymaking process would provide an efficient method for bringing the library’s message to stakeholders, because libraries as a group have often failed to articulate their message to policy makers, specifically regarding funding. Kingdon’s (2010) three streams approach to how public policy is formed offers some insight as to why this might be the perfect time for this type of strategic involvement. He explains:
The separate streams of problems, policies, and politics come together at certain critical times. Solutions become joined to problems, and both of them are joined to favorable political forces. This coupling is most likely when policy windows - opportunities for pushing pet proposals for conceptions of problems - are open. (Kingdon, 2010, p.20)
In other words, once an issue becomes hot and a window opens (i.e., a near perfect opportunity to push that issue), stakeholders want input on how the policy develops, even if it’s an agenda to which they are opposed. The American Library Association (ALA) did just that in 1993, when the National Information Infrastructure (NII) Agenda for Action was being developed. In its bid to protect the public good, the ALA was determined that the old rules should still apply to this new information infrastructure.  Nevertheless, the NII heralded an information age that did, in fact, create new issues and problems that old rules and policies failed to adequately address. In 2016, fake news became one such problem. Today, it’s a hot button issue – and for LIS stakeholders, a window is now open.
This panel will discuss how and why LIS stakeholders should exploit the current information environment as a means of improving or challenging perception of the profession, recruiting students, developing new and relevant programs/curricula, supporting students, conducting globally relevant research, and securing a seat at the policymaking table.  In addition, drawing on their respective areas of expertise, each panelist will provide specific ideas and strategies that can serve as models for audience participants.
STRUCTURE:
The session will use the Ignite format. The session will begin with the s of the panel members and followed by an overview of the topics that will be discussed by the moderator (10 min). Each panel member will then present; these will be 7-10 minute presentations that will showcase key issues in a way that ensures audience interest and engagement. The audience will then be invited to respond, ask questions, and/or offer comments.
More information about the Ignite approach is available at: http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/ignite-presentations/.  
REFERENCES:
Banks, M. (December 2016). Fighting fake news: How libraries can lead the way on media literacy. American Libraries , retrieved July 12, 2017 from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/12/27/fighting-fake-news/
Jaeger, P.T., Bertot, J.C., Thompson K.M., Katz, S.M., & DeCoster, E.J. (2012). The Intersection of Public Policy and Public Access: Digital Divides, Digital Literacy, Digital Inclusion, and Public Libraries. Public Library Quarterly , 31 (1), 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/01616846.2012.654728
Kenney, B. (May 2013). So You Think You Want to Be a Librarian? Publisher’s Weekly , retrieved July 13, 2017 from https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/57090-so-you-think-you-want-to-be-a-librarian.html
Kingdon, J. (2010). Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies , 2nd Revised Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education (US).
Lonergan, D. (2009). Is Librarianship a Profession? Community & Junior College Libraries , 15 (2), 119-122.


Wednesday February 7, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Standley I

Attendees (30)