Librarians can help separate fact from fiction

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Lately there’s been a lot of real news about fake news.

Although fake news has been around for a long time, it has finally found its place in the public consciousness.

But you see, librarians have always been aware of fake news, and we’ve always found it to be a great opportunity for us to show the value of what it means to be an information professional.

Back when the internet became a thing, many people started questioning the need for libraries. People thought you could find anything and everything online.

For many years, we fought to show our constituents that we were still relevant. Back then, the argument was that you needed a librarian to help you navigate the complicated waters of the internet.

You may be able to type a question into Lycos or Ask Jeeves, but your results would never really have the answer you were seeking.

Librarians relied on their expertise in creating cryptic Boolean searches, using “and” “or” and “not” to find the real answer, a proficiency that surely no layperson could ever glean.

Then Siri came along with the amazing ability to answer just about any question with the push of a button.

Ah, but now, librarians are back in the fold of newsworthiness as ambassadors for information literacy.

Information literacy is the ability to recognize when information is needed and to have the skill to locate, evaluate and use needed information effectively.

With news coming toward us at every turn, many people don’t bother to verify the truth before believing what they are told and passing it along to others. But, rest assured, your librarians will always be here, wielding the torch for truth and accuracy in the news stories we all consume.

It is simply what we do.

Hobbs is executive director of the Pendleton Community Public Library.