The News Literacy Toolkit has been designed for use throughout the library. The following suggested uses include recommendations from patrons, librarians, journalists and educators. Feel free to adapt and modify toolkit content, as needed, to meet your library’s needs.
Stories in the news can provide opportunities to engage patrons with the topic of news literacy. Passive programming can stimulate thinking or ask patrons for their opinion on an issue. Posts on social media can point patrons to helpful fact-checking websites. Connecting current events to library resources, such as databases or special collections, can also be a great way to help library users learn more.
The run up to an election can be a time of heightened news awareness. This presents opportunities for engagement around news literacy. Libraries throughout the state promote voter information and voting resources, such as the Easy Voter Guide. Content from the News Literacy Toolkit can be complementary to many of these resources. Suggestions include directing people to helpful news sources, hosting voter workshops and integrating civic education into existing programming. Patrons have also expressed interest in workshops that allow them to talk about the issues and to learn in a more supportive setting. Consider reaching out to organizations such as the League of Women Voters that may be able to co-host informational events.
Many libraries already host a diverse array of guest speakers. Authors, journalists, politicians, community leaders, community organizers and local government staff members can all help to complement news literacy efforts. Soliciting questions for a guest speaker ahead of their visit is a great passive programming opportunity.
Library Literacy & Immigrant Services
Many elements from the toolkit can be used during literacy instruction. Infographics, handouts and tip sheets can be used as is, or adapted to meet an individual student’s literacy level. The core presentation can be delivered in multiple sessions or a few slides at a time. News literacy concepts, such as being a critical consumer of news, can be integrated into one-on-one tutoring sessions. Consider working with local partners or an engaged patron to help translate materials.
ESL Conversation Clubs & Small-Group Practice
Conversation clubs provide excellent opportunities for English learners to engage with news literacy. Whether it is discussing a current event or generating questions that can be researched further, there are many ways to bring news literacy into group ESL settings. Provide opportunities for learners to reflect on the way they consume news in their native language and encourage students to read news articles in pairs or small groups. Integrate a concept from IFLA’s handout into an existing lesson, helping learners become more critical consumers of news.
Materials from the toolkit can also be helpful for newcomers and patrons looking to earn their citizenship. Encourage patrons to share their experiences with news and media in their native countries and to ask questions about the media they encounter here in the United States. Point newcomers to helpful news sources and library resources, including newspapers or magazines in their native language. Provide handouts and bookmarks that encourage critical consumptions of the news.
The changing media landscape can be challenging for older patrons. Senior programming can include opportunities for patrons to reflect on these changes, to discuss current events and to examine their own news consumption habits. Senior patrons interviewed for the News Literacy Toolkit showed a wide range of news preferences. Many read news stories on cell phones and tablets. Some said they use social media as a news source. Over the years, some patrons have also developed their own strategies for finding quality news. Encourage sharing and discussion in pairs or small groups.
Computer Classes & Computer Labs
Many patrons also come to the library for help using technology. News literacy concepts can be easily integrated into computer classes and promoted alongside library computer services. Consider providing copies of the “Anatomy of a News Website” handout for use in computer labs. Fact-checking sites and recommended news sources can also be set as links on computer homepages. Bookmarks or handouts promoting critical consumption of the news can also be taped to computer workstations.
After-School Programming & Summer Reading
Adoption of the Common Core State Standards has led to an increased focus on nonfiction and informational texts. Students participating in after-school programs are a prime audience for news literacy. Engage students through games, short lessons and passive programming. If a student is done early with their work, consider sending them on a digital scavenger hunt. Help them to learn about the range of newspapers and magazines that the library has to offer. Or, provide a news story and ask a student to come up with three related questions that they could research. Provide prizes or recognition for students that complete news literacy challenges.