Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias

Agarwal, P. (2020).  Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias . New York, NY: Bloomsbury Sigma.

Title: Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias
Author: Pragya Agarwal
Published: 2020 by Bloomsbury Sigma
Length: ~448 pages
ISBN: 978-1472971357

Summary: Think, understand, and evaluate your biases in a scientific and non-judgmental way with Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias. Using real world stories underpinned by scientific theories and research, this book unravels the way our unconscious biases are affecting the way we communicate, make decisions and perceive the world. A wide range of implicit biases are covered, including left-handedness, age-ism, sexism and aversive racism, and by using research and theories from a wide range of disciplines, including social science, psychology, biology and neuroscience, readers learn how these biases manifest and whether there is anything we can do about them.


APA (6th ed):
Agarwal, P. (2020). Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias . New York, NY: Bloomsbury Sigma.

Progressive Community Action

Mehra, B., & Rioux, K. (Eds.) (2016).  Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science . Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Title: Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science
Editors: Bharat Mehra and Kevin Rioux
Published: 2016 by Library Juice Press
Length: ~382 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936117-65-9

Summary: Progressive Community Action explores theories, methods, approaches, strategies, and case studies on social justice work in library and information science. This edited volume includes entries on the intersections between critical theory and social justice in LIS while focusing on social relevance and community involvement to promote progressive change. Contributes include LIS researchers, practitioners, educators, social justice advocates, and community leaders.


APA (6th ed):
Mehra, B., & Rioux, K. (Eds.) (2016). Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science . Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Diverse Views and Discussions in Library Programs

NYLA 2021 Social Responsibilities and Libraries Speaker Series

Part of ALA’s core value of Social Responsibility lies in helping inform and educate the public in addressing critical problems in society, and encouraging them to examine the facts of, and many different views on, these problems. This panel will discuss successful initiatives taken with public library programming, partnerships with local schools, and an academic library One Read program, to help you learn how you can bring similar programs to your library. Come with questions on how you can create engaging and enlightening discussions at your library, from hosting them yourselves to allying with your local school, community volunteers, or committee at your academic institution.


Alexander Andrasik, Adult Services Librarian, Penn Yan Public Library

Alex Andrasik is the adult services librarian at Penn Yan Public Library in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Alongside professional interests and responsibilities that include technology instruction, pop culture programming, and sustainability, he strives to incorporate racial justice and equity education into the library’s offerings.  PYPL’s efforts in this area are very much a work in progress, but represent an essential aspect of library service in every community, including rural places like the Finger Lakes.

Heather M. Cook Volunteer Circle Keeper/Facilitator, Penn Yan Public Library

Heather M. Cook (she/her/hers, White) lives on the unceded homeland of the Onöndowa’ga:’ /Seneca people of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ / Haudenosaunee Confederacy in the Seneca Lake watershed, in what is commonly called the Finger Lakes area of New York State. With a background in conflict transformation and circle processes, she works as a facilitator and trainer at Partners for Restorative Initiatives (PiRI) in Rochester, NY.  She stumbles her way through trying to become less racist, and seeks to do that work in community, and to take risks for the liberation of all beings.

Rosemary Farrell Senior Librarian, Programs & Engagement, The Nyack Library

Rosemary Farrell is the Senior Librarian for Programming and Community Engagement at Nyack Library in the Lower Hudson Valley where she has worked for over ten years in various departments and lived for the past eighteen. She works with her colleagues in Adult Services to offer a robust calendar of programs encompassing an array of topics from personal finance, health, politics and social justice, to trivia, local history, the arts and sustainability.The Nyack Library strives to work with other community organizations to provide materials and services to our diverse population.

Arielle Hessler Emerging Technologies Librarian, John Jermain Memorial Library

Arielle Hessler is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, NY. In addition to researching and implementing new technologies at her library, she runs programs from monthly trivia and game nights, to serious discussions such as a Film Club that tackles assumptions on race and culture. Her library also partners with the local school for a parent/teen program called Tough Topics, and an annual program called The Wagner Dialogues that invites panelists with diverse political, religious, or cultural viewpoints to speak with the community. 

Charlene V. Martoni Student Workforce Supervisor, University at Albany Libraries

Charlene Martoni is the Access Services Student Workforce Supervisor at the University at Albany Libraries. In addition to motivating and mentoring student employees and full-time staff, Charlene participates on the Libraries’ newly reinstated DEI Climate Committee. By adapting a workflow she had developed while chairing a One Read committee in New Paltz, NY, Charlene collaborated with her new colleagues at the University at Albany to trial a library-wide One Read of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Charlene will share insights, strategies, and survey data to help participants prepare to facilitate book discussions with colleagues on topics ranging from race and culture to ability status and gender identity.

Lora Tucker Volunteer & Discussion Moderator, John Jermain Memorial Library

Lora René Tucker is Brooklyn born and Brooklyn Public Library raised.  Ms.Tucker’s career reflects over 30 years of racial and social justice activism; creating and teaching antiracism, diversity, and cultural empowerment. Lora, now living in Sag Harbor, recently facilitated John Jermain Library’s Film Club for Black History month, and its joint “Tough Topics” events with the Sag Harbor school district’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Lora is an active member and facilitator of Racial Justice East End, and presently facilitates poetry therapy workshops at Stonybrook/Southampton Hospital’s Wellness Institute. She published “Writes of Passage” and now writes about the “-isms” we endure. She is studying for her MFA at Stonybrook University, receiving an award for returning to academia at the age of 60 (And in the middle of a pandemic!)    

Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African

by Aisha Redux

Topics: Race, first-generation Americans, mental health, sexuality.
Citation: Redux, A. (2020). Stupid Black Girl: Essays from an American African. Street Noise Books.

Goodreads description:

Redux explores common themes to her experience of existing in a Western country as a West African. Born to two parents who immigrated from Africa, Redux faces the world in a way she deems alienating yet powerful. She covers themes such as spirituality, mental health, and sexuality as it is interlaced with her experiences of racism and misogyny.



About the author:

Image courtesy of stupidblackgirl.com

Aisha Redux was born and raised in New York City. Her parents emigrated from West Africa. She is originally from the Upper West Side, has lived in Harlem and has been a proud resident of The South Bronx since her late teens.   She is noted for her great capacity in conveying original insight through her writing and other creative outlets. As an avid culture seeker with an insatiable interest in global lifestyles, Aisha loves to travel. She speaks fluent English, French and Sou-sou dialect and has a unique comfort and aptitude for assimilation to any environment. Also, through these travels, she has gained valuable connections, a vast knowledge of cultures and the force to launch a media and creative projects that inspire and impact. She has written for  various publications and loves interviewing and  podcasting. In addition to her writing ability, she is well versed in pop culture. The creation of ‘Stupid Black Girl’ is a culminating out pour of her talents and inspiration.


Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Topics: American history, masculinity, police brutality, race, segregation, slavery
Citation: Coates, T. (2015). Between the World and Me. Random House.

Goodreads description:

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

New York Times “Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’”

About the author:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.




by Yaa Gyasi

Topics: American history, Ghana, race, slavery
Citation: Gyasi, Y. (2016). Homegoing. Random House.

Goodreads description:

A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoingfollows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.

NPR “‘Homegoing’ Is A Sprawling Epic, Brimming With Compassion”
Washington Post “‘Homegoing,’ by Yaa Gyasi: A bold tale of slavery for a new ‘Roots’ generation”

About the author:

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. Her short stories have appeared in African American Review and Callaloo.




Orange is the New Black (2011)

by Piper Kerman

Topics: Poverty, rehabilitation, women in prison
Citation: Kerman, P. (2011). Orange is the New Black. Random House.

Goodreads description:

Orange is the New Black Book Cover“With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before.
But that past has caught up with her.

Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424 — one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance.

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.” —GoodReads

Listen to the Orange is the New Black audio book free HERE.

New York Times Prison Life, Real and On Screen
NPR Behind ‘The New Black’: The Real Piper’s Prison Story
NPR  “Piper Kerman: Recipes for Survival
Slate  “What’s a Nice Blonde Like Me Doing in Prison?” (Book review)
Huffington Post  “Piper Kerman, ‘Orange is the New Black’ Author: What’s Real, What’s Not About Netflix Show
Huffington Post  “The Real Woman Behind ‘Orange is the New Black‘”

About the author:

“Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison from Spiegel & Grau. The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series for Netflix.

Piper works with Spitfire Strategies as a communications consultant with nonprofits, philanthropies, and other organizations working in the public interest. She is a frequent invited speaker to students of law, criminology, gender and women’s studies, sociology, and creative writing, and also to groups that include the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force, federal probation officers, public defenders, justice reform advocates and volunteers, book clubs, and formerly and currently incarcerated people.

Piper serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, and she has been called as a witness by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to testify on solitary confinement and women prisoners.  She has spoken at the White House on re-entry and employment to help honor Champions of Change in the field.  In 2014 Piper was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award from John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime & Justice and the Constitutional Commentary Award from The Constitution Project.” —Piperkerman.com

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (2016)

by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

Topics: Hunger, poverty, welfare.
Citation: Edin, K. & Shaefer, H.L. (2016). $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Mariner Books.

Goodreads description:

A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t think it exists

Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.

After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich — and truthful — interviews. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge.

The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. More than a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.

Check out the full website for $2.00 a Day!

About the authors:

After decades of research on poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before—namely, that many of the people she was talking with had virtually no cash coming in. She then teamed up with H. Luke Shaefer, who confirmed a spike in the number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per person per day in the wake of the 1996 reform that abolished a federal guarantee of support to the poor and thereby ended “welfare as we knew it.” Edin and Shaefer then traveled from Cleveland, to Chicago, to the Mississippi Delta to spend time with 18 families, trying to better understand how the 1.5 million households living in this extreme poverty, including 3 million children, are able to get by at all.

Photo by the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Kathryn J. Edin, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is recognized as one of the leading poverty researchers in the U.S. Noted for her “home economics of welfare” (Mother Jones), Edin uses both quantitative research and in-depth observation to try to better understand the lives of people living in poverty in the U.S. Her other books include Promises I Can’t Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City.

Photo by the University of Michigan School of Social Work

H. Luke Shaefer, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Ford School of Public Policy as well as a research affiliate at the National Poverty Center, is an expert on Census surveys that track the incomes of the poor. His recent work explores rising levels of extreme poverty in the U.S., the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on material hardship, barriers to unemployment insurance, and strategies for increasing access to oral health care in the United States.

Behold the Dreamers (2016)

by Imbolo Mbue

Topics: Cameroon, economy, immigration, urban living
Citation: Mbue, I. (2016). Behold the Dreamers. Random House.

Dubbed one of the “totally hippest novels of 2016” by the Washington Post.
Oprah Winfrey’s 2017 Book Club Pick.
2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

Goodreads description:

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Check out this reading guide from Penguin Randomhouse!

About the author:

Photo by Kiriko Sano

Imbolo Mbue is a native of the seaside town of Limbe, Cameroon. She holds a BS from Rutgers University and an MA from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for more than a decade, she lives in New York City.



Free Expression vs. Misinformation Online: Who Decides?

Description: This webinar explores the question, “How do Americans weigh a core value like free expression against the downsides that come with harmful content and misinformation online?” A report by Gallup and Knight Foundation, released June 16, 2020, explores attitudes toward key issues in tech policy, including content moderation, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and approaches to industry self-governance like Facebook’s Oversight Board. This new study provides a springboard for tech companies, government, and citizens alike to advance a conversation about free expression online.


  • Evelyn Aswad, Professor of Law and Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, the University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Paul Barrett, Deputy Director, New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights
  • Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation, the Stanford Cyber Policy Center
  • Heather Moore, Governance and Strategic Initiatives, Facebook
  • Spencer Overton, President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • John Samples, Vice President and Founder, the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute

Why I trust it: The Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots that invests in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. The Knight brothers believed that a well-informed community could best determine its own true interests and was essential to a well-functioning, representative democracy. The Knights formed the Knight Foundation to promote excellence in journalism and the success of the communities in which they worked.

Use: Use this resource to understand the complexities in the relationship between freedom of expression and misinformation.

Access: This webinar is accessible at this link.

Citation: Free expression vs misinformation online: Who decides? (2020). The Knight Foundation & Gallup. https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2385290/B1DC447C174AAFED9CF96941BE01B79F

Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations of the U.S.


Description: This resource lists organizations in the U.S. that are officially recognized.

Why I trust it: For 65 years, Gale has provided libraries and other educational institutions with databases on a variety of subjects. The publishing company uses a world-wide network of scholars to curate and review its content.

Use: Use this resource to verify the world-wide recognition of an organization with which you plan to become involved.

Access: This resource is available through several university library systems. If it’s not available at your library, you can try requesting it through interlibrary loan.

Encyclopedia of associations: National organizations of the U.S. (59). (2020). Gale Research Inc. https://www.cengage.com/search/productOverview.do?Ntt=Encyclopedia+of+Associations%3A+National+Organizations+of+the+U.S.|11059768470553036219263470251746241506&N=197&Nr=197&Ns=P_CopyRight_Year%7C1&Ntk=APG%7CP_EPI&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

Dictionary of Political Biography


Description: This online dictionary offers short biographical entries of 870+ noteworthy political figures from the twentieth century, compiled by trustworthy experts.

Why I trust it: Oxford Reference has existed as a producer of scholarly publications since the 15th Century. Currently, the Oxford Press is governed by a large group of academics, and its publications are trusted by libraries worldwide.

Use: There are a lot of political names in the news. Use this dictionary to look up unknown names of major people who have shaped the world. You’ll find trustworthy snapshot biographies. You don’t need to read an entire biographical book to understand how that person plays into the story at-hand.

Access: This resource is available through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to request a guest computer pass.

Kavanagh, D. & Riches, C. (2016). Dictionary of political biography (2). Oxford Reference. http://www.oxfordreference.com.libproxy.albany.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780191751080.001.0001/acref-9780191751080

Measuring News Media Literacy


Description: This scholarly article details a study that measured levels of news media literacy among 500 teenagers. The researchers applied Potter’s 2004 model of media literacy to the concept of news literacy and found that having greater knowledge about topics in the news, conditions under which news is produced, and the effects news can have on society results in higher levels of news media literacy.

Why I trust it: Published by the open-access Journal of Media Literacy Education, this article is peer-reviewed through the University of Rhode Island.

Use: Use this resource to learn about strategies for media literacy assessment. It has a long list of references for further reading.

Access: Users can access this through the Education Source database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to request a guest computer pass.

Maksl, A., Ashley, S., & Craft, S. (2015). Measuring news media literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(3), 29-45. https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol6/iss3/3

The First Amendment Encyclopedia


Description: This online encyclopedia is a collection of articles about free expression in America, curated by faculty of the Middle Tennessee State University.

Why I trust it: This resource is presented by the Free Speech Center and the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. It is edited by two scholars, one of whom, Dr. John R. Vile, is a professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College at MTSU. The other scholar, David L. Hudson, Jr., is a former member of the Nashville First Amendment Center, and he now teaches at the Nashville School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. A unique aspect about this encyclopedia is that it provides you with direct contact information for its collaborators. If you have questions, reach out to these experts for an interview.

Use: First amendment issues are all over the Internet, and understanding them will help you think critically about the information you consume. Use this encyclopedia to understand more about freedom of speech and expression.

Access: Users can access this online encyclopedia with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Vile, J. R. & Hudson, D. L. (2019). The First Amendment encyclopedia. Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved from https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment

Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages


Description: This worksheet includes a series of questions to help information consumers determine the process, context, and framework of a media product.

Why I trust it: This worksheet is included in a book meant to aid people in decoding diverse types of media. It is published by Praeger, a company affiliated with ABC-CLIO and trusted by libraries worldwide.

Use: This worksheet can be used to help you evaluate the quality of a piece of information you find on the internet.

Access: Users can access this book through many university libraries, including SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Orange. It can be requested through the UAlbany interlibrary loan service as well.

Silverblatt, A., Smith, A., Don Miller, C., Smith, J., & Brown, N. (2014). Keys to interpreting media messages [worksheet]. Media literacy: Keys to interpreting media messages (4th ed., pp. 203-9). Praeger.

Issues: Understanding Controversy and society


Description: This database is a collection of authoritative, scholarly eBooks on a broad range of topics. It includes more than 7,300 primary and secondary sources, including 4,900 photos and illustrations and 160 audio and video recordings.

Why I trust it: ABC-CLIO (a collaboration between the American Bibliographic Center and CLIO Press) has been developing leading, authoritative reference resources for more than 60 years. It also offers professional development through its Libraries Unlimited program, aimed at supporting educators and librarians in lifelong learning.

Use: This database is full of trustworthy information to help you learn more about a topic you discuss or read about in the news. It includes a standards based curriculum, updated daily by a team of subject-specific experts and supported by an extensive range of instructional material. You can also find a collection of commentaries from noted scholars commissioned to foster critical thinking through exposure to varying viewpoints.

Access: You can access this database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to ask for a guest computer pass.

Carter, G.L., Dunbar, J., Gypton, J., Stewart, C., and VanHorn, A. (2020). Issues: Understanding controversy and society [database]. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from https://publisher-abc-clio-com.libproxy.albany.edu



Description: This informational website is a collection of information on 70 controversial issues.

Why I trust it: ProCon.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public organization with a mission to promote critical thinking and informed citizenship. It was awarded a platinum rating by the nonprofit reviewer Guidestar.

Use: When you hear or read about a controversial current issue or event, you can use this website to understand major points on both sides of the topic.

Access: Users can access this website with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Markoff, S.C. (2004). ProCon.org: Pros and cons of controversial issues. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.procon.org

BBB Scam Tracker


Description: This resource is a database of reported and investigated scams, compiled and researched by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). BBB is a nonprofit organization that accredits businesses.

Use: Mysterious voicemail? Offer too-good-to-be-true? Think you’ve stumbled upon a scam? The BBB Scam Tracker might be able to help you determine if it is. Pop keywords into the search bar and see.

Access: This resource is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Better Business Bureau. (2020). BBB scam tracker [database]. https://bbb.org/scamtracker

The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News


Description: This scholarly article critiques common strategies used to teach news literacy, arguing that many lesson plans only teach people to analyze the surface of a website and that “determining who’s behind information and whether it’s worthy of our trust is more complex than a true/false dichotomy” (p. 4).

Why I trust it: Sarah McGrew, one of the article’s authors, co-directs the Civic Online Reasoning Project at the Stanford History Education Group with Joel Breakstone. Breakstone’s research focuses on instructional assessment. Sam Wineburg is the founder of the project and is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford. Teresa Ortega is the project manager.

Use: If you’re an educator, use this resource to critique and strengthen your news literacy lesson plans so that your students internalize lifelong news literacy skills.

Access: You can access this online for free through the American Educator archives.

McGrew, S., Ortega, T., Breakstone, J., & Wineburg, S. (2017). The challenge that’s bigger than fake news: Civic reasoning in a social media environment. American Educator. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.aft.org/ae/fall2017/mcgrew_ortega_breakstone_wineburg

A Short Guide to the History of ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation

icfj.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/A Short Guide to History of Fake News and Disinformation_ICFJ Final.pdf

Description: This short eBook addresses the fact that fake news is not new. It offers an overview of major moments in the history of disinformation, in timeline format. It includes events from the Marc Antony smear campaign of 44BC, to the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in 1493, to the 2005 creation of the Colbert Report, to a 2017 European Union report on fake news. The last few pages of the eBook detail an accompanying learning module.

Why I trust it: This resource is a relatively recent publication that was sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, a nonprofit that has worked with more than 100,000 journalists from 180 countries. Its aim is to provide journalists with resources that enhance their skills and expertise, and the resource itself presents facts without bias.

Use: The best way to arm yourself against fake news is to understand how it developed into what it is today. Use this resource to quickly grasp the overall timeline of disinformation, or use the learning module to help others understand as well.

Access: This resource is free for download from icfj.org.

Posetti, J. & Matthews, A. (2018). A short guide to the history of ‘fake news’ and disinformation: A new ICFJ learning module. International Center for Journalists. https://www.icfj.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/A%20Short%20Guide%20to%20History%20of%20Fake%20News%20and%20Disinformation_ICFJ%20Final.pdf

Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints


Description: This database is a collection of research-based entries covering current issues. It approaches the information in a pro/con format and includes articles, maps, infographics, and more. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: For 65 years, Gale has provided libraries and other educational institutions with databases on a variety of subjects. The publishing company uses a world-wide network of scholars to curate and review its content.

Use: When you hear or read about a controversial current issue or event, you can use this database to understand major points on both sides of the topic.

Access: You can access this database through the University at Albany Libraries. If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member, you can proxy into the server using your UAlbany ID. Otherwise, you can visit one of the library buildings on the main campus and use a guest computer pass to access the database. Visit the circulation desk to ask for a guest computer pass.

Gale in context: Opposing viewpoints [database]. (2019). Gale. http://go.galegroup.com.libproxy.albany.edu/ps/start.do?p=OVIC&u=albanyu

Not Real News


Description: This weekly Associated Press column offers an overview and fact-check of the top viral social media content.

Why I trust it: The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news producer that has been in existence for over 150 years. It has won over 50 Pulitzer Prizes, and its content is trusted and reproduced by newspapers world-wide.

Use: Stay on top of the news you find on social media by reading this column each week.

Access: Users can access this column with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

The Associated Press. (2019). Not real news. AP News. https://www.apnews.com/NotRealNews

The Chicago Guide to Fact-checking


Description: This Chicago guide, published in 2016, offers tools and best practices for fact checking across multiple forms of media.

Why I trust it: This guide was published by the same company that publishes the Chicago Manual of Style, and it draws on the expertise of over 200 professional writers, editors, and fact-checkers. The book’s editor, Brooke Borel, is a former research editor at Science Illustrated and a former fact checker at Quanta. She also teaches science communication workshops at New York University.

Use: Use this manual to beef up your fact-checking skills. You’ll find numerous strategies to fact-check across multiple forms of media. You’ll also find, at the end of the book, 20 full pages of references organized by chapter. This allows you to trace the information inside the book to make sure it’s authoritative.

Access: This title is accessible in-library through the University at Albany Libraries’ reference collection under call number ZA3075 .B67 2016. You can also request this title through the New York Public Library, or you can try requesting it through interlibrary loan.

Borel, B. (2016). The Chicago guide to fact-checking. University of Chicago Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1043503275

Hudson’s Washington News Media Contact Guide


Description: This periodical reference has been published for over 50 years and offers contact information for over 4,000 key media contacts. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: This publication offers new, updated editions annually. It includes media contacts that one would not typically be able to find on the Internet.

Use: Have a question about an article you are reading? See if the author’s contact information—or the contact information of a cited source— is available through this resource. Reach out and verify the information before you trust it.

Access: This resource is available through several university library systems. If it’s not available at your library, try requesting it through an inter-library loan.

Hudson’s Washington news media contacts guide. (2020). Grey House Publishing. https://www.greyhouse.com/hudsons_washington_news_media_contacts

Fact Checker: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric


Description: This column, based on sound news media principles, is authored by professional fact checker Glenn Kessler and his colleagues Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly. Its goal is to fact check the statements of political figures and weed through political rhetoric. The authors also investigate answers to questions submitted by readers. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: Glenn Kessler is an award-winning journalist whose career spans decades. His fact-checking team analyzes political statements on both the left and right, and they do so without inserting opinion. The column appears in the national-news section of The Post, seperate from the editorial or opinion sections. Also, members of the team are not permitted to engage in partisan political activity or make contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations.

Use: Use this resource to fill in missing context in political statements and get a more comprehensive, unbiased picture of topics mentioned by politicians.

Access: Users can access this column with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Kessler, G. (2020). Fact checker: The truth behind the rhetoric. Washington Post. https://washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker.  

Is it True? A Fake News Database


Description: People send in suspected hoaxes, doctored images, and fake websites. Then, Politico’s team works to determine the truth.

Why I trust it: Politico’s mission is to provide its audience with accurate, nonpartisan information. In 2012, the Poynter Institute found that about the same percentage of Politico readers identify as democrat as do those that identify as republican, so you can bet their investigations are unbiased. Learn more about Politico here.

Use: Reading something you suspect could be fake? Pop keywords into this database to see if it’s been investigated by Politico. If not, visit this link for a submission form.

Access: Users can access this database with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Lima, C & Briz, A. (2018). Is it true? A fake news database. Politico. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2018/is-this-true



Description: Snopes offers an archive of investigated rumors and claims, debunking or verifying them so you don’t have to.

Why I trust it: The oldest and largest online fact-checking site, Snopes’ contextualized analysis uses evidence-based practices to fact-check the media. The company has been independently verified by the International Fact Checking Network, and, in the spirit of truth-seeking, it invites skepticism and challengers. The fact-checkers attempt to contact sources for interviews, and they seek out supporting information. They consult experts, and each fact-check travels through multiple staffers. Learn more here.

Use: Reading something you suspect could be a false or a hoax? Pop keywords into the Snopes search bar to see if it’s been investigated.

Access: Users can access this site with a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Mikkelson, D. (2020). Fact check. Snopes. https://snopes.com/fact-check



Description: This reverse image search engine accesses a multibillion index of web images to determine an image’s origin and locate/track modified versions.

Use: Wondering if that picture is a hoax? Try reverse searching it with TinEye to find its true origin. Learn more about how to use TinEye here.

Access: TinEye is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Reverse image search. (2020). TinEye. https://tineye.com

Census Data


Description: Census Data is a government-funded database of community facts—from population data, to school district data, to data on income. Learn more here.

Why I trust it: It’s just the data—plain and simple. Independently reviewing raw data gives information consumers an opportunity to evaluate it without biased commentary.

Use: Fact check news and statements by public figures by popping cited census data into the Census Data search bar to see if it matches or if the article’s language is misleading.

Access: Census Data is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Census Data. (2020). Census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. https://data.census.gov/cedsci



Description: The PolitiFact nonpartisan investigative team rates political statements for accuracy based on independent news expertise and then awards statements a score on a “truthometer.” Learn more about PolitiFact’s methodology here.

Why I trust it: PolitiFact’s core values include: thorough reporting, independence, transparency, and fairness. PolitiFact does not accept donations from political parties, elected officials, candidates seeking public office, or anonymous sources. Learn more about PolitiFact’s financials here.

Use: This organization has been fact-checking since 2007, and it has gained a reputation for unbiased investigation into the truth (or lack thereof) of political statements. Use it to gain some perspective on political entities on all sides. 

Access: Politifact is free for use through a preferred internet browser from any computer in the United States, and beyond.

Holan, A.D. (2020). PolitiFact. The Poynter Institute. https://politifact.com