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The art of the real: fact checking as information literacy instruction

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss how academic librarians tasked with research instruction can use connections between digital, civic and information literacy to combat polarization and misinformation through skill-based instruction.


The paper discusses a wealth of original data centered on first year students and their information literacy abilities. Discussion of two data sets (one pre/post scored by rubric and one mixed methods) is included to demonstrate the following: existing information literacy skills among a sample cohort of first year students and pre-/post-test assessments from the pilot program for a digital literacy curriculum, along with qualitative responses.


This paper outlines ways in which information literacy instruction with a fact checking curriculum can help students evaluate digital information more accurately.


This paper provides valuable insight into pedagogical practices that center information literacy as it relates to civic engagement, digital polarization, and the decline of trust and civility since the 2016 Election of President Trump.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; Civic literacy; Digital literacy; Digital polarization; Information literacy; Instructional design; Lateral reading; Libraries; Library instruction; Polarization; Reference services; Research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ina Dillard Russell Library, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, USA

Publication date: February 10, 2020

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