Industry research partnership to tackle fake news and misinformation by upskilling library and information professionals

Canberra, 11 October 2021: A timely partnership between the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and members of the News and Media Research team from the University of Canberra (UC) promises to produce much-needed research, tools and learning opportunities for library and information professionals looking to embed media literacy programs in their services.

The partnership is a first for ALIA, the peak body for the library and information profession, and UC, and responds to the identified lack of access of Australians to media literacy support. ALIA is a founder member of the Australian Media Literacy Alliance, has produced resources, run media literacy information events for Members and will be actively engaged in Media Literacy Week on 24-31 October. The team at UC has already conducted extensive research into levels of media literacy in children, young people and adults in Australia and the impact this has on their lives.

An Australian-first survey of library and information workers is open now and the survey will investigate the attitudes, needs and perceptions of Australian library and information services staff about media literacy and media. The survey will translate into the publication of a study of the role of intermediaries in teaching media literacy outside the classroom. The research will inform the development of an ALIA-endorsed micro credential in 2022 for library and information professionals keen to gain expertise in an area which has rapidly become a key priority for governments and society.

ALIA Director of Policy and Education Trish Hepworth explained, ‘This is familiar territory for libraries in the sense that media literacy is an extension of digital literacy and information literacy, but the explosion of fake news during the US elections and misinformation around COVID-19 has escalated the community’s need for support – and library and information staff need the tools to be able to meet this need. 

‘ALIA and UC are making a significant investment in developing research-backed approaches which will be tailored to the needs of public, school, tertiary and special libraries. We will be meeting the demand from ALIA Members for a qualification in this field, and this course, together with the research, will both guide practice and demonstrate our Members’ expertise.’

Take the survey

All library and information workers can take the survey now that will help to develop a program on how to teach media literacy. The survey also asks about views on the role of librarians and teachers, and responses to requests from the public and students.   
The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete. To start the survey please click on this link


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