Academic Librarians’ Responses to Dis/Misinformation

Academic librarians are seen as key figures in combating the spread of dis/misinformation. This research delves into their perspectives on this issue and how they integrate information literacy instruction on dis/misinformation into their sessions. By surveying librarians from over 20 countries, the study aims to identify both common and varied approaches used globally. The expected outcome is to equip librarians with better strategies and enhance information literacy education, empowering students to become more critical consumers of information.

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The pervasive challenge of dis/misinformation globally necessitates an immediate and effective response, especially in the critical realm of education and information dissemination. False or misleading information has the potential to significantly impact individual and societal decision-making processes, affecting everything from crucial electoral choices to essential health precautions. It is within this context that the role of comprehensive information literacy instruction becomes absolutely crucial, as evidenced by research indicating its effectiveness in enhancing individuals’ capabilities to discern false from accurate information effectively. Academic librarians, with their specialized knowledge in information management and dissemination, emerge as pivotal figures in this complex landscape, poised to offer vital instruction in information literacy.

Yet, the potential for academic librarians to fully engage in this critical educational imperative is not without its significant obstacles. The specific structure of their roles within academic institutions and the considerable degree to which they depend on invitations from faculty members to conduct instructional sessions can significantly influence their capacity to impart essential information literacy education. This study delves deeply into academic librarians’ perceptions regarding the pervasive issue of dis/misinformation and their active involvement in delivering comprehensive information literacy instruction to students at their respective institutions.


This research ambitiously aims to shed light on the nuanced perspectives of academic librarians concerning the multifaceted, complex issues surrounding dis/misinformation. It seeks to ascertain the extent to which librarians are thoughtfully integrating information literacy instruction specifically related to dis/misinformation within their comprehensive educational sessions.

The specific research questions include:

  • How do academic librarians perceive the issues and challenges of misinformation? To what extent do academic librarians integrate instruction related to misinformation into their sessions?
    • If they address the topic, what approaches do they use?
    •  If they do not address the topic, what are their reasons for not doing so?
  •  What are academic librarians’ perceptions of undergraduate students’ news literacy proficiencies?

To gather comprehensive, detailed insights, the research project initially conducted thorough pilot surveys in the United States and France, targeting academic librarians. It now aims to significantly expand its investigative scope by comparing nuanced responses from librarians across more than twenty diverse countries. This intentionally international approach is strategically intended to profoundly enhance our understanding of the varied information literacy instruction practices within academic libraries globally. By meticulously examining the strategies and challenges faced by academic librarians in various geographic and institutional contexts, the study endeavors to identify both commonalities and differences in their innovative approaches to combating the pervasive issue of dis/misinformation.

The anticipated outcomes of this comprehensive research are expected to be of significant, considerable value to academic librarians across diverse regions and varied types of institutions globally. By meticulously offering a detailed comparative analysis of how librarians address the critical issue of dis/misinformation through targeted information literacy instruction, the study aims to equip them with a much broader, insightful perspective on their essential professional practices. Furthermore, it seeks to facilitate the widespread sharing of highly effective strategies and innovative solutions, thereby enabling librarians to further refine and improve their instructional methodologies. Ultimately, the study aspires to make a meaningful contribution to the enhancement of information literacy education, empowering students to navigate the increasingly complex information landscape more effectively and with a heightened level of critical engagement.

In sum, this study positions academic librarians at the forefront of the fight against dis/misinformation, recognizing their unique role as educators and information specialists. By exploring their experiences, challenges, and strategies in providing information literacy instruction, the research aims to bolster their efforts in cultivating a more informed and discerning student body, thereby mitigating the pervasive effects of false information in society.

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