ALA, Center for News Literacy announce plans to create media literacy training for public libraries

The American Library Association (ALA), in collaboration with the Center for News Literacy at the Stony Brook School of Journalism, announce Media Literacy @ Your Library, a pilot program that will train public library professionals to teach their adult patrons to be better informed news consumers.

During the one-year pilot program (July 2017 to June 2018), ALA will work in collaboration with the Center for News Literacy to develop an online media literacy curriculum and corresponding resources.

“Public libraries are trusted, neutral institutions that are open to all, and they are uniquely positioned to help adults become better news consumers,” said ALA President Jim Neal. “ALA welcomes the opportunity to work with our partners and funders to pilot this important initiative.”

Five U.S. public libraries – selected through a competitive application process and representing a diverse range of communities – will pilot the learning series through a “train the trainer” approach, learning the skills they need to pass strong media literacy skills to their patrons.

Participating libraries will take part in an in-person workshop, create programs for their communities and help develop an online learning series over the course of the year.

Application information will be available in August 2017. To be notified when applications open, sign up for ALA's Programming Librarian newsletter.

Media Literacy @ Your Library is supported by the Knight Prototype Fund, an initiative launched by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation to address concerns about the spread of misinformation and produce ways to build trust in journalism.

“While trust in many institutions has wavered or eroded in recent years, libraries have remained trusted places where all kinds of people seek out information.” said Josh Stearns, associate director of Democracy Fund’s Public Square program. "Democracy Fund is excited to support the American Library Association’s effort to bring creative and engaging media literacy effort to local libraries."

A 2016 Pew Research Center report showed that the majority (64 percent) of adults get their news from a single website and that news consumers increasingly get their news by chance, rather than seeking out diverse sources. Limited and passive news consumption restricts exposure to varied perspectives and creates “information bubbles.”

Media Literacy @ Your Library is a project of ALA’s Public Programs Office.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About the Center for News Literacy

Housed within the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, the Center for News Literacy is the only university-level research and curriculum development institute in the United States teaching students how to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television, radio, the internet, or social media. The Center’s animating principle is that the ability of a nation’s citizens to judge the reliability and credibility of information will be a leading indicator of the public health of civil societies.

About Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $50 million in support of effective governance, modern elections, and a vibrant public square.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

About the Rita Allen Foundation

The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership. For more information, visit ritaallen.org.

Sarah Ostman
Communications Manager
sostman@ala.org
ALA Public Programs Office
312-280-5061