Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

Information literacy for parents in comics

Since switching over to working as an academic librarian at a community college, there’s a lot of focus on information literacy. It got me thinking, as a parent who has struggled to navigate parenting information, about ways that we can make that accessible to parents. For instance, while I was a children’s librarian, I felt it was important to address the vaccine issue by hosting a panel of health experts and discussing it with parents from an information/health literacy perspective.

I made these two comics that cover some basic information literacy concepts. Hopefully, they are useful to your patrons, especially as people are navigating COVID-19 information.

Is it current? -Was it written recently enough to be accurate? -Has it been revised or updated? -Do the links work? Is it relevant? -Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? -Who is the intended audience? -Have you checked other sources to make sure yours is the most relevant to your topic? Is it authoritative? -Who wrote, published, or publicized it? - What makes the author an expert? -Are they backed by an institution (such as a university or institute)? If not, are they a primary source? Is it accurate? -Is there supporting evidence? -Has the information been reviewed by experts or factcheckers? -Are there spelling or other errors? -What are other experts saying about it? What's the purpose? -Why was this information created? Is it to promote something? Sell ads? Drive votes? -Is the purpose clear? -What biases can you find? What are others saying about the author or source? -What is your purpose and bias?

Check for previous work: Has snopes.com, politifact.com, or a news outlet already fact checked? Search for it! Go upstream to the source: Most web content is not original, and instead quotes other sources. Find the original to check if it matches! Read laterally: Open a lot of tabs in your browser, and see what others are saying about the original information, source, or author’s credentials. Circle back: if you hit a dead end, back up and start again with what you know. From Michael Caufield's Web Literacy for Student FactcheckingTo read Michael Caufield’s ebook, click here.

Lisa Nowlain is an artist and librarian. After working as a youth librarian at Darien Library and Nevada County Community Library, she now works at Sierra College as part-time faculty in the library.