Disinformation and fabricated or misleading content have been on an alarming rise in our community. Information literacy has become an essential skill as even young children are confronted with fake news, propaganda, misinformation, clickbait and even conspiracy theories. Social media and instant news sources have contributed to new methods and faster speed of distribution, leading to the need for directly teaching our children how to critically analyze sources for authenticity.

Many of these lessons happen in school libraries. In North Carolina’s schools, media coordinators instruct students how to identify valid and reliable resources through school library lessons. In keeping with the American Association of School Librarians, our governor has traditionally proclaimed April as School Library Month, so now is the perfect time to appreciate the many roles of the school library media coordinator as teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, program administrator and leader who is essential to student success.

Every child has the right to receive a sound basic education, including students of color and those who are economically disadvantaged. This includes a full-time, certified librarian in every school who provides learning activities designed to enhance reading motivation. School libraries are the source of a wide variety of reading materials for our diverse learners, such as books, magazines, digital resources, online resources, and information databases and the technology to use these resources.

Take a minute to reflect on our children’s contribution to the spread of information now, and for our future. And if you know a media coordinator, teacher, or school administrator, congratulate them for their efforts to secure our democracy for a better tomorrow. History’s understanding of the way we lead our lives is dependent on how even our youngest students manage their information needs.

Rita Soulen

Winterville

Soulen is an assistant professor of library science at East Carolina University.

Contact Bobby Burns at baburns@reflector.com and 329.9572.