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LLR Blog: Afternoon Sessions

1.15pm-1.45pm The Charlotte Project - Engaging youth on fake news

Peter KeepFounder and Trustee,The Charlotte Project

Robin PomeroyLondon-based editor.

BIO: Peter Keep is the founder and trustee of The Charlotte Project. Husband of Charlotte Cooper. Entrepreneur. Experience of a wide range of industries. Worked with many different companies in the UK, India and Tokyo. 

BIO: Robin Pomeroy is a London-based editor, formerly foreign correspondent in Iran, Italy, Brussels. Knight-Wallace journalism fellow.TV appearances include CNN, ITN. Areas of expertise and experience include: Iran, Italy, EU, Environment, Culture


  • An introduction to The Charlotte Project, why it was set up and what it aims to do.
  • An introduction to The Thomson Reuters Foundation and its remit.
  • Developing the concept of The Charlotte Project, deciding the target audience.
  • What the objectives were.
  • How best to engage with our audience.
  • Developing the content.
  • Testing our concept.
  • Rolling out.
  • Maintaining a dialogue.
  • How to measure outcomes.


1.45pm-2pm Information Literacy, the cure for fake news: making connections at the University of Bedfordshire

Gwen Kent, Academic Liaison Librarian, University of Bedfordshire

BIO: Gwen Kent started working in libraries in 2012 as a Graduate Trainee at the University of Essex. In 2013 she moved to the acquisitions department at the University of Bedfordshire library. She completed a master’s degree in Information and Library Studies in 2016, and started her role as an Academic Liaison Librarian the same year. Her main subject responsibility is Law, and she is a member of the BIALL Professional Development Committee.

ABSTRACT: Activities that have taken place as part of a fake news campaign in the University of Bedfordshire library include: book displays, handouts, posters, a new webpage on the library website, digital marketing, and focus groups. Gwen will speak about how the campaign has been designed to tie in with a new organisational objective to develop students into politically minded citizens.

The topic of fake news, which we are all keenly aware is at the forefront of public consciousness, presents an opportunity for information professionals to show their relevance. Concepts associated with fake news – e.g. post-truth politics and echo chambers/filter bubbles on social media – all present opportunities to engage students in understanding the importance of information literacy not just in their academic ventures, but their own social and political lives.

2pm-2.20pm #FakeNewsFriday and other information literacy tales from the Open University Library

Amanda Closier and Ute Manecke, Learning and Teaching Librarians, Open University Library.

BIO: Amanda Closier is a learning and teaching librarian who qualified in 2001. She has worked in a range of roles predominantly in Higher Education with a brief diversion via the NHS. Amanda is a Fellow of Higher Education academy who focuses on supporting the helpdesk, delivering training and leading the library's Authoring team at the Open University library. She can be found on Twitter on @mandaclosier Outside of work she’s an utter geek with a love for gaming but who also likes gallivanting around the place exploring ancient sites and castles.

BIO: Ute Manecke started her librarianship career as a Clinical Support Librarian at Milton Keynes Hospital in 2009 where she was involved in all aspects of clinical librarianship. She then spent a short time as an Assistant Librarian at the University of Buckingham before beginning a post as Information Skills Adviser in 2014, which involved teaching groups of undergraduate and postgraduate students, answering enquiries at helpdesk points and offering 1:1 support with information-related enquiries. In early 2018, Ute began to work as a Learning and Teaching Librarian at the Open University, focusing on academic liaison, authoring, enquiries and live engagement.

ABSTRACT: The Open University (OU) Library’s Live Engagement team deliver teaching and engage with students outside of the Library programme of formal training. The team frequently contributes to the OU’s livestreamed Student Hub Live events, which are a series of live, online and interactive events open to the OU community. Having developed considerable live broadcasting experience and used the Library’s Facebook page to run live chat events, the team decided to try Facebook’s live video capability to engage with students about Fake News. In this context, the team has run a series of 5-minute videos in the lead up to the UK General Election in June 2017.

2.25pm-2.45pm Developing the research skills of students studying for their EPQ (Extended Project Qualification)

Carol Price, Mandy Goode and Janice Wright, Librarians, Learning,Teaching & Research Services, Birmingham City University

BIO: Carol has spent all of her professional life working within academic libraries in various roles. Her present role sees her supporting the Business School and the School of Law, where Carol takes the lead in supporting students and staff with inductions; information literacy sessions, and tutorials.

BIO: A Black Country girl by birth, Mandy has worked for over thirty years as a professional librarian across a variety of settings - a public library, a school, a college and a university.  Currently she has a dual role supporting the Faculty of Health at BCU, and working as a School Librarian in a multi-trust Academy. Before she became a librarian Mandy worked as an oral archivist and theatre manager in Scarborough.

BIO: Janice has worked as a professional librarian within both academic and public library settings for 25 years, in varying roles ranging from a children’s librarian through to a specialist fine art librarian.  Her present role sees Janice supporting the School of Education and Social Work, where she takes the lead in supporting students and staff with inductions; information literacy sessions, and tutorials.


Our presentation focuses on the support offered by a small team of librarians at Birmingham City University to develop the research needs of students studying for their EPQ.  The team liaise closely with the University’s Marketing Department to support students from targeted schools, who are making the transition from further to higher education.

Over the past 2 years we have developed a suite of sessions (along with an EPQ activity day) which are promoted to schools within publicity distributed by our Marketing Department.  Examples of sessions we offer include the following:

Getting to know an academic library

What do you expect from a university library? Find out what kind of resources and services are available and how the library and its resources are organised.

To Google or not to Google

Fed up of searching for information and getting lots of results, some of which are not useful? We can help you by suggesting strategies and search tips to help in your searching.

Trash or Treasure

What information should you use in your research? Learn the skills needed to critically evaluate what you find and be confident in its use in your research.

This last session is where we discuss the concept of Fake News, and use voting technologies to enable students to decide whether they think something is fake or not.

Alongside these face-to-face sessions, we have also developed online support and activities which are accessible via our external Xoodle pages, available at:

2.45pm-3.15pm From personal engagement to public engagement - the journey from experience fake news to educating others

Georgina Cronin, Research Support Librarian, Betty & Gordon Moore Library, University of Cambridge

Katie HughesOpen Access Research Adviser, Office of Scholarly Communication, University of Cambridge 

Lucy Welch, Assistant Library (Teaching), Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

BIO: Georgina was invited to deliver a session on fake news and how librarians can support their users to the CILIP Academic and Research Libraries Group (East Midlands) members after having written a blog post on the topic. They were then invited to speak at the Cambridge launch of CILIP’s Facts Matter campaign. This experience then led to delivering ‘Popping the filter bubble: how facts can help you’ with her colleagues, with the aim of reaching out further and educating the public using core library skills in combating the impact fake news. Georgina also applies their newfound knowledge to their research support work with scientists.

BIO: Katie studied International Relations focusing on Central and Eastern Europe before earning an MLIS from the University of British Columbia. Thus, the history and subtle differences between propaganda, misinformation, and fake news were particularly interesting. Luckily, Katie was asked to help present ‘Popping the filter bubble’ at Cambridge’s recent Festival of Ideas. In the beginning, Katie suffered from some imposter syndrome, but soon realized that the methods used to combat fake news are the same used to evaluate resources. Katie is keen to continue to researching this area and discovering new interactive ways of evaluating news sources.

BIO: A qualified librarian currently working as Assistant Librarian at Cambridge University’s Engineering Department Library, Lucy gained plenty of experience in her previous roles running training and events for the University Library and Office of Scholarly Communication. From interpreting exhibitions for schoolchildren to encouraging librarians to think outside the box and tell a story with mysterious objects, Lucy spent much of her professional life carrying out research into the library collections and telling their stories to new audiences. The importance of ensuring that the truth is not lost when translating these histories into compelling stories provides a unique perspective on the current issues surrounding ‘fake news’.


In this session, we will speak about our personal experiences of fake news and how, over time, the knowledge gained from those various experiences evolved into a public engagement workshop that we delivered as part of the University of Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas programme in 2017.

We will share our personal stories of how we started engaging with the topic of fake news, before moving on to discuss the process of developing sessions with interactive elements and key takeaway lessons that members of the public could directly apply to their own lives. We will then demonstrate elements of the workshop that we felt worked well so participants can gain inspiration and ideas, as well as discussing the elements that might not have worked as well as we hoped, such as how to deal with unexpected and challenging Q&As!


3.30pm-3.45pm Teaching activities for business news and fake news information literacy

Heather Lincoln, Liaison Librarian, Business and Professional Development, Imperial College London

Kay Griffiths, Senior Library Assistant, Business and Professional Development, Imperial College London

BIO: Heather Lincoln is a liaison librarian for the Business School and School of Professional Development at Imperial College London. Her professional interests include collection management and information literacy including critical thinking, business information and digital literacy including information literacy with mobile devices. She is a member of CILIP’s Information Literacy Group training team and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

BIO: Kay Griffiths is a senior library assistant in Imperial College London’s Library Liaison team. She provides support to the Business School and School of Professional Development. Professional interests include information/digital literacy promotion and user experience. She holds an MA in Library & Information Studies and has 10 years’ experience working in public, FE and academic libraries.

ABSTRACT: Postgraduate Business students need to be effective information users to achieve academic credibility in their assignments and to make effective decisions in their professional careers. This presentation will show how experiential database teaching sessions focusing on students’ project work, use online news searching and ‘fake news’ activities to engage learners with critical thinking. These teaching activities include:

  • Use of a reference list with links to different online news sources (FT, Forbes, CNBC etc.) and class discussion and evaluation of these
  • Discussion on fake news and its features in a business students’ information searching context
  • Comparison of searching for news using google and using the Factiva newspaper database
  • Online searching for news on a topic to allow for peer comparison of results
  • Use of AB Tutor software for class screen share and sharing of a sample reference list to promote class activities

This presentation will show how the activities were designed and how students engaged with them.

3.45pm-4.05pm Beyond source evaluation: using political satire to address fake news

Sebastian Krutkowski, Academic Achievement Librarian, University of Roehampton

BIO: Sebastian is a teaching librarian and truly loves his job. He gets to work with students of all academic disciplines across the university, which presents many opportunities to learn and observe the way they learn and interact with information resources. Last year Sebastian published and presented a paper on a strengths-based approach to widening participation students in higher education. At present, he is studying the patterns of our engagement with information in times of intense political polarisation. Sebastian is particularly interested in how fake news and the post-truth rhetoric affect librarians involved in teaching.

ABSTRACT: Tackling the fake news phenomenon starts with reinforcing the instruction on how to critically process the news. In the US, late night comedy shows are praised for their detailed and searing coverage of current affairs, especially around election cycles. According to McClennen (2014), this is because the late night comedy format encourages the audience to think more critically. While traditional journalism does not always know when (or how) to laugh at the absurd statements or conspiracy theories (Maza, 2017), political satire can expose the different ways people, especially politicians, twist facts. The use of humour attracts (and sustains) attention and produces a more relaxed and productive learning environment (Banas et al, 2011). Frequent references to popular culture in political comedy shows make the information more “accessible” to students and effectively function as alternative pedagogical sites for analysis and critique in the classroom (Detmering, 2010). Humour also fosters the process of forming relationships and strengthening human connections between students and librarians leading information literacy instruction (Savage et al, 2017). Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Late Night with Seth Meyers are two particularly useful shows to build a more in-depth information literacy discussion on. They both start with a joke, but then dig into the details and contradictions. Both shows are well researched, sophisticated and current. Late night hosts also increasingly abandon jokes in favour of a frank commentary (e.g. Trevor Noah on police brutality or Jimmy Kimmel on healthcare) and are particularly keen on showing how certain politicians have held every position on every issue.

In the information skills workshops at the University of Roehampton, videos from these shows encourage discussion around important academic as well as social issues, e.g. the use of quotations, or the “right to be forgotten” legislation (both from John Oliver’s show). These are used in the Referencing and Managing Your Digital Identity workshops, respectively. One rationale for this is that young adults (who make the majority of our audience), are more absorbed in satirical items than regular news (Boukes et al, 2015; Hollander, 2005). Incoming first year university students are considerably uninformed on basic political and social issues. Using more entertainment-based material in the classroom can help to prevent young learners from disengaging with current affairs awareness and keep them from disinformation via fake news. Students who only get their information from sources that report favourably on the people and causes they support risk being trapped in a “filter bubble” and confirmation bias (Pariser, 2011).  Humour can make that bubble burst and help them see beyond – showing how facts are twisted, manipulated, or simply invented or made up.

This presentation covers how incorporating political satire into information literacy sessions can help students navigate the current information environment that is polarised between the tell-it-like-it-is “people” versus the know-it-all “elites” (Gage, 2017). It explores the role of emotions and use of instructional humour because in a post-truth world, we must all give more attention to the role emotions play in reasoning and decision making.

4.05pm-4.30pm HEAR-badged Fake News Workshops and working with Journalism students

Alison Skoyles and Kathy Neville, Information Skills Advisers, London South Bank University.

BIO: Alison Skoyles graduated from the University of Sheffield with a MA in Librarianship in 2006, and before starting at LSBU, she worked in further education and public libraries, but always wanted to end up in higher education.  In her current role as Information Skills Adviser, she has supported the Schools of Arts and Creative Industries, Law and Social Sciences, and Health and Social Care, which has given her a great opportunity to work with a diverse student body across a range of subjects.  She helps to design and deliver the training programmes for the library, covering information and digital literacy, referencing, using social media, and various online systems.  She is always looking for ways to develop her training and incorporate new teaching innovations. 

BIO: Kathy Neville graduated from the TU Dresden, Germany, with a MA in English/British Cultural Studies and in History of Art in 2008. Somehow landing in the Saxon State and University Library Dresden whilst studying, she got very intrigued by the information world and has been working in HE/FE/public libraries ever since – acquiring ancient skills in retrospective conversion or having fun in IT troubleshooting, training delivery and graphic design. Having previously assisted the LRC and Digital Skills Training teams at LSBU, she now enjoys creating learning atmospheres, supporting the Schools of Built Environment and Architecture as well as Applied Sciences as an Information Skills Adviser – and being part of a spirited ALD team.

ABSTRACT: The Information Skills Advisers at LSBU were keen to develop workshops on the timely subject of fake news.  We created a programme of three workshops that introduced students to the topic of fake news, how they could evaluate online sources using the CRAAP method, and how they could fact check information they found.  The workshops were accredited so that they appeared on students’ Higher Education Achievement Reports.  We worked collaboratively with our Journalism students to create a news panel show around fake news – we found the guests, and the students carried out the interviews.  A couple of us appeared in one of their videos!  Having read extensively around the subject of fake news, we became interested in how colleagues in the information world and beyond were responding to this phenomenon – so we arranged this conference!