Oak Park Public Library is one of four sites chosen to kick off a national campaign to engage students, journalists, news ethicists, and librarians across the country in a news literacy education project. With Oak Park Public Library as their “newsroom,” Oak Park teens will learn how to distinguish facts from opinions and will practice news literacy by connecting with local media.
The American Library Association (ALA) unveiled the “News Know-how” campaign in February 2012. The two-year, $750,000 national project seeks to create partnerships and collaborations for a nonpartisan, critical analysis of news and information. Libraries that will kick off the project include the Oak Park Public Library, Chicago Public Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, and several Iowa rural and urban libraries working with the State Library. “News Know-how” is supported by the Open Society Foundations.
Oak Park teens will be invited to apply for this two-year news literacy education project, to be launched locally with training this summer at Oak Park Public Library. Teens will learn information literacy principles to help them develop critical thinking skills and analyze news coverage in all of its formats. Participants will have an opportunity to work with professional journalists and librarians as mentors and will create projects that will be shared online.
“Oak Park Public Library is elated to be asked to participate in ‘News Know-how.’ We certainly understand the challenges of a rapidly changing media environment and welcome the opportunity to promote Oak Park as a civically-engaged community,” explains Deirdre Brennan, Executive Director of Oak Park Public Library. “Helping people get the facts is our business, here at the library. Every day we help people evaluate online sources for their credibility.”
Rebecca Teasdale, Assistant Director for Public Services and Programs at Oak Park Public Library adds, “We’re very experienced in working with dedicated teens through our teen summer volunteer program. We’re excited for this new opportunity to engage Oak Park teens in creating the journalism of tomorrow.”
“In today’s mass media environment it is critical that students are taught to analyze news coverage,” said Barbara Jones, director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “Through the support of libraries under this initiative, students will be given the tools to assess the accuracy and credibility of news and information access across various media and platforms. They will also be encouraged to practice news literacy by engaging with the media in their communities.”
The lead training organization for “News Know-how” is the News Literacy Project Inc. (NLP), a national nonprofit education program active in schools in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland: http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/ .
The program will be assessed by a team at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with nearly 60,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.
Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.
Find more about Oak Park Public Library at http://oppl.org .