The crucial role of librarians in keeping us safe online


As the Crime Writers’ Association Libraries Champion in Scotland, I often find myself reminding people that libraries are about so much more than books. And one of the most important elements of the librarian’s role is education.

Which is why I read with interest that CILIP, the UK professional association for librarians and information professionals, has responded to the final report of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry on Fake news and Disinformation by calling on the Government to recognise the vital role of librarians and information professionals in protecting the public from online harms.

CILIP CEO Nick Poole said: “CILIP welcomes the findings in the CMS Committee report that ‘children and adults need to be equipped with the necessary information and critical analysis to understand content on social media, to work out what is accurate and trustworthy, and what is not’ – what we call ‘information literacy’.

The organisation says that, as librarians and information professionals, its members know that education – equipping children and adults with the ability to think critically and act responsibly online – is the only long-term solution to managing the risks presented by the Internet while allowing people to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities.

I could not agree more – and perhaps politicians across the UK should consider the point when ploughing ahead with their short-sighted plans to close libraries.

You can read full details of the CILIP submission at

https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/Fakenewsdisinformation

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