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Libraries Promoting Reflective Dialogue in a Time of Political Polarization

ACRL. 2019. 404p. ed. by Andrea Baer & others. ISBN 9780838946527. pap. $80. PRO MEDIA
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As the contributors of this work illustrate, engaging in difficult dialogs can be rewarding—and enlightening. Editors Baer (history & political sciences librarian, Rowan Univ., NJ), Ellysa Stern Cahoy (education librarian, Pennsylvania State Univ.), and Robert Schroeder (Portland State Univ.) have curated a thoughtful collection of essays exploring how librarians can discuss climate change, fake news, or other topics likely to evoke a strong emotional response. One chapter offers a syllabus for a course about the sociology of information disorder, focusing on teaching students about information systems and how to evaluate and analyze different sources. Another chapter discusses ways in which science faculty and librarians collaborated using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to teach students about the nature of scientific evidence.
VERDICT Librarians interested in the intersection of information literacy and politics will find that the concepts and approaches here provide ample food for thought. Pair this provocative, reflective work with a text focused more broadly on information literacy, such as Samantha Godbey, Susan Beth Wainscott, and Xan Goodman’s Disciplinary Applications of Information Literacy Threshold Concepts.

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