Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World

March 28 & April 11, 2018

Live Interactive Sessions on Wednesdays from 2–4 PM ET: March 28 & April 11
Bridged with Homework, Online Workshops, Discussions, and Resources
Certificate of Completion Provided

Note that all sessions are recorded and available for on-demand viewing if you are unable to attend a session at its scheduled time or just want to rewatch it!

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Facts Matter

Libraries serve people of all backgrounds and beliefs and function as trusted, nonpartisan sources of accurate information for their communities. In these polarized times, helping your community understand news bias and identify reliable sources is more critical–and perhaps more difficult–than ever. Arm yourself with new approaches and new tools designed for the ‘new’ real World.

Through this course, you will learn:

  • How to use behavioral science strategies, conspiracy theories and anti-bias training to inspire and facilitate critical thinking in patrons who are immersed in misinformation, while keeping conversations nonpartisan and non-alienating.
  • How to curate an up-to-date repertoire of media and news literacy tools, including reliable fact-checking sites, that will help empower you and your patrons to objectively evaluate print and digital information and data.
  • How to understand high-impact data literacy strategies that you can share with your students and patrons so they can make sense of the data in their world.
  • How to identify data that can help you support your facts and messaging and then turn it into compelling visuals using free online tools.
  • How to partner with local news organizations to promote news literacy through a range of programs, including developing a citizen journalism hub at your library.

Online Course Features

  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help work through challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos, and other resources
  • Access all course content for 6 months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses

Who should take this course?

Library professionals and educators in all settings serving patrons of all ages—and anyone else who cares about the truth!

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical ideas in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to plan ideas for increasing media literacy in your community.


Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SESSION 1: Powerful Partners: Libraries and News Outlets

2:00-3:00 PM ET

Libraries nationwide are collaborating with news organizations to create information literacy programs, train teen community journalists, and boost their status as invaluable providers of facts and information. Learn what’s possible and design a collaborative program at your own library.


Jo Giudice Tom Huang Charlotte-Ann Lucas
Jo GiudiceDirector of Libraries, City of Dallas (TX)
Tom Huang, Assistant Managing Editor for Features and Community Engagement, Dallas Morning News (TX)
Charlotte-Ann Lucas, Managing Director, NOWCastSA, San Antonio (TX)


3:00-3:15 PM ET

SESSION 2: When Facts Don’t Matter: How to Engage the Unreceptive

3:15-4:00 PM ET

Part 1: Misinformation abounds, and people believe it. What’s a librarian to do? In this session, you’ll learn tactics for dealing with others’ trust in misinformation using behavioral science strategies and anti-bias training.


Gleb Tsipursky
Gleb TsipurskyAssistant Professor, Decision Sciences Collaborative and History Department, Ohio State University; President and Cofounder, Intentional InsightsCofounder, Pro-Truth Pledge

Part 2: Can teaching conspiracy theories help advance media literacy? We’ll take a look at current conspiracy theories, discuss how to detect and dismantle them, and illustrate how they can, in fact, be used to persuasively impart media literacy.


Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies and Director, Media Education Lab, Harrington School of Communication and Media, University of Rhode Island

WEEK 2: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SESSION 1: Helping Students and Patrons Navigate Data in a Chaotic World

2:00-2:20 PM ET

Data is everywhere: in the news, on social media, in the grocery store, on our devices, and at school. Kids and adults alike often believe that if it’s a number, it has to be true! But there is often more to data and statistics than the numbers themselves. ​In this session, we’ll explore high-impact data literacy strategies ​that you can share ​with your students and patrons so they can effectively make sense of the data in their world.


Kristin Fontichiaro
Kristin Fontichiaro, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Michigan’s School of Information (MI)

SESSION 2: Show & Tell – Data Sells

2:20-3:00 PM ET

It’s easy to access data on just about everything these days, from topics making news headlines to the most popular dog names in your state. Data literacy – the ability to read, create and communicate data as information – is a vital skill for anyone in the business of supporting facts. In this hands-on session, you’ll learn ways to source useful, real-world data and turn it into compelling visuals, using free online tools, that support your literacy efforts and communication programs. Come away armed with resources and knowledge that you can use and share with your patrons.


Frank Bi
Frank Bi
, Editorial Engineer, SB Nation; Adjunct Professor, Fordham University (NY)


3:00-3:15 PM ET

SESSION 3: New Threats, New Strategies, New Tools

3:00-3:45 PM ET

Part 1: Fake news, deceptive journalism, and social media practices have been propelled into a new stratosphere during the past year. We’ll review what’s changed, identify online resources, and help you build curricula, programs, and tools to detect falsehoods.

Part 2: Acquire communication strategies for keeping news literacy discussions with people of all ages nonpartisan and non-alienating.


Damaso Reyes
Damaso Reyes, Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement, The News Literacy Project

CLOSING KEYNOTE: Holding Onto Optimism in a Climate of “Fake News”

3:45-4:00 PM ET

In the closing keynote of our workshop, Laura Hazard Owen will share lessons learned through her work as Deputy Editor of the Nieman Journalism Lab, what the future of journalism might look like in the age of “fake news,” and how she remains optimistic about that future through it all. Find her on Twitter @laurahazardowen.


Laura Hazard Owen
Laura Hazard OwenDeputy Editor, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard University


Register early and get immediate access to archived video recordings from past courses:

Keynote with Bill Adair, Politifact Founder: It’s Bigger Than Just Fake News

Bill AdairIn this keynote presentation, Bill Adair—a journalism professor at Duke University and the founder of PolitiFact—will discuss how the problems with our political discourse go beyond just fake news. They involve partisan media, filter bubbles and, in some cases, a reluctance to accept facts. Along the way, he’ll provide a brief history of PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-Prize winning fact-checking website, and what he envisions for its future. He’ll also explore the partisan divide over fact-checking and what might be done to broaden the reach of fact-checks.

Fake News in the Real World with Amy Koester

Amy KoesterFake news trickles into everyday interactions: with colleagues, patrons, family, and friends. This session will address three strategies for infusing these interactions, be they in person or passive, with reliable resources and good information literacy habits. First is perhaps the trickiest: how to navigate interactions with others influenced by fake news, specifically at your library, in the course of one-on-one interactions such as reference interviews, readers’ advisory, or just chatting at the welcome desk. From there, we’ll talk about opportunities for engaging patrons in recognizing the different types of fake news and vetting their news sources through hands-on mini-workshops. Finally, we’ll discuss methods for providing resources and access to reputable information on topics in the news, as well as giving patrons tools to find reliable information on their own. This session will include real-library examples of patron interactions and news literacy-building activities and resources.