Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association
Taylor & Francis
Library Services Centre
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Research Grant
Mis/disinformation has in recent political and health climates become increasingly spread through social media and the internet, drawing increased discussion on the role libraries play in countering and combating the spread of mis/disinformation. This study investigated the impact and management of mis/disinformation at university libraries in Australia through a survey of 88 library staff and interviews with 17 managers. Library staff believe they have a role in teaching skills such as critical thinking and evaluation, advocating in this space and maintaining credible, balanced and inclusive collections. Although combating mis/disinformation is a strategic priority for libraries, it is often not a priority for the institutions themselves, leading to barriers for staff who would like to devote more time and resources to teaching information literacy skills and assessing the credibility and accuracy of collections. While complaints about collection content are low and library managers’ view is that libraries should not censor materials, there is an increasing priority in Australia to address historical inaccuracies in content and build and maintain collections that are inclusive and culturally safe. Library staff in Australia would like support from national library bodies through training and resources and playing an advocacy role in national discussions around mis/disinformation.
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