Campus Life

Library guide explains fake news, news literacy, offers credible news resources

How do you determine what is "fake" news? A new librarian-curated Library Guide can help inform and also boost readers' news literacy, produced by the Penn State University Libraries. Credit: CC0 graphic by Silvia & FrankAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — What is “fake” news and what does news literacy mean? A new Library Guide from Penn State University Libraries explains the terms and their significance and offers a collection of the Libraries’ news resources and credible sources in support of critical thinking skills.

The “Fake” News Library Guide was created by Eric Novotny — a history librarian who oversees the News and Microforms Library on the ground floor of West Pattee Library, University Park — and includes collaborative contributions from several other Libraries faculty and staff.

“Like many, fake news became part of my lexicon during the 2016 Presidential Election. I was particularly alarmed at post-election reports indicating that many readers were unable to distinguish between a real and a fake news story,” Novotny said. “As a librarian, I saw a natural role in helping our students become more savvy news consumers.” 

The “Fake” News Library Guide is among the newest of the Libraries’ nearly 300 Subject Guides for all audiences; 267 course-specific Guides also available to Penn State students and faculty through Canvas, found at the Library Resources tab; plus 44 How-To Guides for citations and on the use of library tools and resources.

These guides alone total more than 600 online Libraries-curated tools to help individuals navigate information on specific topics, for academic courses and more, to access additional resources and explore new ideas. These tools feature content on these topics, courses, and events from a range of sources and can be continuously updated.

“My hope is that faculty and librarians use the guide to stimulate discussions on fake news and promote critical thinking skills,” Novotny added. “We want students who can judge the credibility of news sources regardless of whether they get their news from Facebook, television or library databases.”

For questions or more information about the “Fake” News Library Guide, contact Eric Novotny. To access more Library Guides created by the Penn State University Libraries, visit Penn State faculty who are interested in providing their students with a tailored course guide should contact their faculty subject liaison librarian at University Park or at their campus location.

Last Updated February 13, 2017