AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library released Friday its February listing of public events stemming from a national media literacy effort launched in the fall.

The city’s library was chosen among five nationally in a pilot program aimed at training library staff to help their adult customers become better news consumers under the auspices of the American Library Association and the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University.

February’s lineup features programs that spotlight so-called “fake news.”

• Wednesday, Feb. 7, at noon, the library will present, “Where do you get your news?” Participants will be invited to share how they get their news, what sources they trust and how they describe what is true and what is “fake.” Refreshments and light snacks will be available.

• Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m., the movie “Network” will be shown at the library. In the satirical feature film, a veteran news anchorman who’s told he’s been fired threatens on live television to shoot himself then goes on a rant that inadvertently boosts that network’s ratings.

• Wednesday, Feb. 14, at noon, members of the public will be given a quiz in which they’ll be asked to distinguish real news from fake news based on headlines.

• Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m., the library will present a screening of the movie, “Page One,” in which the lives and daily tasks of three New York Times’ writers are examined at a time when the internet is beginning to influence print media.

• Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m., an associate professor of rhetoric at Bates College will present a program titled, “The Rise of Fake News.” Associate Professor Stephanie Kelley-Romano recently taught a class where students conducted a mock presidential election.

• Thursday, March 1, at 6 p.m., the library will show the movie, “All the President’s Men,” a film about the Washington Post’s investigative reporting on the Watergate Hotel break-in that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

The library is partnering with the Sun Journal on this project and Judith Meyer, executive editor, will be the lead collaborator.

The Auburn Public Library was one of just five public libraries from across the country to be selected for the project. Other selected libraries include Estes Valley Library (Estes Park, Colorado); Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (Huntsville, Alabama); San Diego Public Library (California); and Skokie Public Library (Illinois).

Ney said the library is honored to have been chosen for the pilot project.

“In today’s often toxic world of deliberate misinformation, we need to be able to help our community separate fact from fiction and make intelligent and informed decisions when hearing the news on the local or national scene,” Ney said. “We will be bringing to the table with the help of our partner, the Sun Journal, the tools to do just that. The fact that we are a prototype library in this program makes us proud that we are going to help set the stage nationally for media literacy programming.”

In this six-month learning and prototyping project, the Auburn Public Library will work with the American Library Association and the Center for News Literacy to adapt existing media literacy training materials to serve the needs of public librarians and their communities. The library will be represented by Ney and Adult Services Manager Marty Gagnon.

The library’s team attended an in-person training in Chicago last fall to better learn how to use their skills to conduct adult public programs. Team members will also provide feedback on the training and serve as advisers to, and beta testers for, the development of a web-based curriculum for librarians nationally.


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