Links to the videos for the Friday, November 20 Online Story Hour with Elisabeth. Click on each link and they will bring you to the original post. You do not need to be logged into Facebook to see these videos.
Looking for past story hours? Head over to Services for Children and Teens and you will find the archive for the Dassel Library online story hours.
by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian
President James Madison said, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both.” Accurate information is essential to a healthy democracy. Disinformation is a danger to it.
As a librarian, I actively seek and provide sources of accurate information, and I encourage everyone to evaluate the accuracy of the information they encounter.
The American Library Association has some tips you can use to evaluate the information you come across, especially online:
- Consider the source. Look up the organization or publication that posted it, and see what its mission and contact information say.
- Read past the headline. Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks and reactions. Read an article before you share it or comment on it.
- Assess the credibility of the author or the expert quoted in an article. Do a quick search for them. What is their area of expertise, and what organization do they represent?
- Look at the links and sources supporting the article. Does that information actually support the story? Are those sources reliable?
- Check the date. Could the age of the article affect its accuracy?
- Consider that the item might be satire. Sometimes an article is meant to be humorous. Quickly look up the site and author to find out before you believe something outlandish.
- Consider that it might be promotional. Is the purpose of the site to sell a product?
- Check your biases. That’s a hard one! We are drawn to reading, believing, and sharing things that fit into our predetermined ideas. Pause and question something from an unproven source even if you want it to be true – in fact, especially then.
- Search other news outlets to see if the story is widely reported. Be skeptical of information appearing in only one place that you can’t confirm.
In today’s online environment, anyone can present their story in a way that looks professional, but it’s essential that we all consider whether the information is accurate.
Read, listen, and watch stories from many different news outlets. If you rely on only one or two sources of information, you’re limiting your understanding of a topic. Local and regional newspapers and broadcast news programs are good to include in your information diet, with the connections and accountability they have to people in your area.
You’re more likely to get reliable news and information when you go to library databases and Pulitzer Prize-winning news sources, as well. You can search library databases by visiting elibrarymn.org. On that page there’s a button for “News & Magazines” where you can search for information published in a huge number of reputable publications, some of which have articles available to read there the same day they come out in print.
Did a friend share a meme about current events and you’re wondering if it’s true? Go beyond the short and sensationalistic and look for reliable sources and for experts who know what they’re talking about. If you need help finding accurate information on a topic, give me a call at the library, (320) 693-2483, or send me an email (my address is available on the library’s website), and I will do my best to find you the most accurate information I can locate.
Accurate information is one of the foundations of our democracy. Join me in making an effort to check sources, separate fact from opinion, and pause to verify before sharing. We all can do our part for the common good.
Per Minnesota Executive Order 20-81, face coverings are required in the library. For details, visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html.
Some important details:
- Types of face coverings can include a paper or disposable mask, a cloth mask, a neck gaiter, a scarf, a bandanna, or a religious face covering.
- A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. The covering should not be overly tight or restrictive and should feel comfortable to wear.
- Any mask that incorporates a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released from the mask.
If you do not wear a face covering and are age 5 or older, you will not be able to come into the library for an appointment, but we will be happy to accommodate you with curbside delivery, wifi, and/or assistance by phone or email.
Full face shields are allowed for patrons who have a disability or health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. Per the mandate, face shields must extend from forehead to chin and from ear to ear with no gaps.
by Beth Cronk, Meeker County Librarian
Public libraries help provide support for education. Whichever way your child is going to school this year, the public library is happy to help provide resources for your family.
Pioneerland Library System has recently begun offering Brainfuse, an online resource that can be used anywhere. It includes a range of resources for all ages.
Brainfuse HelpNow offers personalized homework help in core subjects: math, reading, writing, science, and social studies. Live tutoring is available through the Brainfuse site every day from 2:00-11:00 p.m. Because students communicate with online tutors in real time using an interactive virtual whiteboard to chat, write, draw, and graph, the tutors can provide individualized help to students of diverse needs and backgrounds.
HelpNow also offers skills building and test prep resources a student can work on alone, then take a quiz before connecting with a live tutor to review the quiz results. All live tutoring sessions are saved and can be replayed as well as shared with friends and teachers.
Students learning French or Spanish can use the Language Lab to either get live help from a tutor or use a variety of games and flashcards to practice skills.
The Writing Lab feature provides assistance at any time of day. Students can submit papers for detailed feedback. The Send Question Center is similar but for help with non-writing assignments such as math or science.
Students who want to form an online study group with friends can do so through BrainFuse’s Meet feature, using the interactive whiteboard.
Is your student getting ready for college? Brainfuse offers SAT test prep and assistance with filling out the FAFSA for financial aid. I have wished for help with the FAFSA so many times! The eParachute feature helps people of any age discover college majors and careers that match their skills and interests.
If kids are a little rusty as the summer draws to a close, direct them to the Summer Camp feature, intended to sharpen math, science, and writing skills to avoid the summer slide.
All of these online resources are available now, and will be through the school year. Students can use them in conjunction with their in-person, hybrid, or distance learning, or parents can use them for assistance with homeschooling.
Speaking of homeschooling, libraries always offer a wide range of books and other materials that are useful for that. Some books are available for parents who are figuring out how to homeschool, such as the newer books The Brave Learner and The Call of the Wild and Free. But most of the resources homeschooling parents use from the library are the vast numbers of books for children and teens that are available on every subject and in every literary genre. If we don’t have it at our local library, we can usually order it from somewhere. Don’t forget documentary films as an educational resource; the library has those, too!
Whatever your school year holds, our library will be glad to help you find books and other resources to help. Remember that you can check out a device to get internet at your house for up to four weeks, and that you can pick up the library’s wifi outside the building 24/7.