Alternative Facts, Fake News, and Digital Literacy

By Traci Cothran

There was a time when we didn’t need to define what a fact was – or rather, we all understood that it meant the same thing. It was a fact – it was the truth; the rest was fiction or opinion. There were clear, credible sources, and there were those that weren’t. Now students, teachers, and librarians (as well as the rest of the American populous) must grapple with distinguishing fact, fake news, and “alternative facts” on a near-constant basis. While the Internet gives us a plethora of easy-to-access information, it’s up to us to discern what is factual and what is not.

To do that, we need to start asking hard questions of everything we read and hear – such as:

  • Where did that Facebook “news” post originate?
  • Is this news or a “newsvertisement?”
  • Are these statistics or this sound bite taken out of context to distort their meaning?
  • Who penned this article? Do they have a specific agenda that influences their writing?
  • Who created this website and how are they getting paid for their content?
  • When you reverse-search the image used in the article, do you find different source content?

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The Biking Librarian Promotes Resources Throughout the Community

By Sally Robertson, Librarian, Nashville State Community College

I am a bike commuting librarian at Nashville State Community College in Nashville, TN.  My passion job is what I do. I love helping people find the information they need. I am a member of the Tennessee Library Association and a part of the Sustain Round Table of ALA. A bike is sustainable transportation and also a great way to tell Tennessee citizens about TEL. I commute to my job by train and bike. Sometimes when I ride through neighborhoods I will stop and chat with people, always telling them about all the great free resources Tennesseans have access to in TEL, and handing out TEL and database bookmarks!

Some of the reasons I like to promote the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) resources so much are that they are:

  • Free to everyone on the state.
  • They are very easy to use.
  • There is a database for all ages and abilities.

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Librarian on a Mission Increases Access and Awareness of Library Digital Resources

Mark Gottschalk is a librarian on a  mission. His mission is to increase the value that the library provides to the South Plains College campus, located in Levelland, Texas. “My personal mission is to find ways to make the library a more used and integrated part of the college community,” Gottschalk said. By increasing usage … Read more…

Why We Choose Gale

By Jenny Wirtz, Teacher Librarian, Ankeny High School

In Iowa, we are fortunate to have the support of Area Education Agencies (AEA) that assist the local K-12 school districts. One of the services that our AEA provides to us is access to many high-quality resources at no cost to our district, including several Gale products. However, I still choose to spend a portion of my shrinking budget on three specific Gale Databases because I believe they offer the best experiences for our high school students. What puts Gale above the competition? I believe it is their quality content, appealing layout and design, and above all the seamless integration between the Gale products and other tools we use such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, and EasyBib.

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Enhance Research with Opposing Viewpoints In Context

By Holly Hibner If there’s one source I love during a presidential election year, it is the Opposing Viewpoints In Context database! This is a librarian’s dream because our patrons are looking for information on all kinds of controversial topics, and matching their own stance to that of the candidates. Opposing Viewpoints presents all sides … Read more…

Celebrate the Freedom to Read

By Traci Cothran

Reading is central to everything we do here at Gale—and whatbbw you do at your library every day—so it’s a good bet the majority of us use Banned Books Week to rally around the works that cause a little controversy.  This year’s Banned Books Week focuses on celebrating Diversity, and runs September 25 – October 1.

I’m an avid reader of middle grade and young adult fiction, so it drives me a little batty when parents ban amazing novels that speak to youth. Some authors are even dis-invited from appearing at schools to talk about their books and the issues affecting kids today.  For instance, the graphic novel Drama, by Raina Telgemeier, has caused grumblings for two gay characters kissing, but I’ve yet to meet a middle school girl who doesn’t love this series.  Author Meg Medina faced scrutiny with her novel about high school bullying, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, because the title has a swear word in it—and you know such language is never spoken in school hallways!  Kate Messner was dis-invited from a school speaking engagement while on tour for her book, The Seventh Wish, because the main character’s sister struggles with a heroin addiction, affecting the whole family.  But there’s no reason to talk about the real-life heroin epidemic affecting kids in high schools and middle schools across the U.S., is there?

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National Bullying Prevention Month

By Debra Kirby

When my oldest daughter, now a middle school teacher, brought home her first essay, it was on the subject of bullying. She wrote it after reading Judy Blume’s Blubber for a school assignment. The essay, which I still have, provided a preview of what a kind, compassionate person and awesome teacher she would one day become. As the 10th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month approaches this October, I thought I’d do a little research on the subject, which was never the focus of national attention when I was a student. It’s only in relatively recent years that bullying has been commonly recognized as something other than a “natural part of growing up” or rite of passage.

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A Holiday Present for Our Planet, From Your Class

Posted on December 8, 2015 SANTA IS COMING! As this holiday approaches, why not task your students with creating a present for the planet Earth? Some possible approaches: A critically endangered white rhino just died, leaving only THREE left on our planet. This is alarming! Grab Science In Context and search “Endangered Species” to discover … Read more…

The Hunger Games, Classroom Lessons

Posted on November 20, 2015

By Traci J. Cothran

Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 has finally hit the big screen, enthralling young minds with the drama, action and adventures of Katniss Everdeen. Nestled in with all the unfavorable odds and pageantry are real issues that students can explore – while flexing their critical thinking skills – under this pop culture umbrella.

Global Warming and Climate Change. In The Hunger Games, the US has collapsed following a devastating series of drought, fire and storms, resulting in a fight for the remaining limited resources. The resulting society, Panem, rose in its wake. Science In Context provides factual overviews as well as in-depth articles on global warming, air pollution, and their lasting effects.

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Content Updates for Gale’s In Context (week ending 10/16/2015)

Posted on October 15, 2015

New content has been added and existing content updated in a number of Gale’s In Context products.

Global Issues In Context

  • A new portal page has been added featuring the South Sudan Civil War.
  • Over 25 portal pages have been updated including Dementia, Gun Control, Nobel Prize, Obama Administration: Foreign Policy, Political Corruption, Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Same-sex Marriage, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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