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School librarians can save democracy

When it comes to equity, critical thinking skills, and evaluating information, school librarians are critical for students

Regardless of one’s political views, there seems to be consensus on one political reality: America is dangerously polarized. According to Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School in Connecticut, in a recent edWebinar, “The future of democracy presents a case for the critical need for school librarians in every school.”

School librarians are essential to help students gain equitable access to high-quality inquiry instructional experiences for all learners–not just for the future of education but also for the future of democracy.

The problem

Luhtala suggests that political belief polarization may emerge because of people’s conflicting confirmation and desirability biases, which leads them to interpret new evidence as a confirmation of one’s own existing beliefs and theories.

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Two-thirds of U.S. adults get their news from social media, and 42 percent think that the news they’re getting is 100 percent accurate. Fifty-eight percent of college students get their news from social media; however, they read news differently if they’re consuming it for their recreational life than if they’re re-consuming it for their academic life.

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