In December 2016, a CNN commentator asserted that “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, as facts.” In the weeks since, others have questioned not just the veracity of specific facts, but whether or not we should put stock, as a nation, in the idea of verifiable information. Most notably, a senior adviser to the President suggested that “alternative facts” (alt-facts) should have the same weight in any discussion or debate as verifiable facts. Libraries, archives, and museums are not only the repository for primary source materials, scholarly resources, and other recognized sources of verifiable facts, but the site for instruction in how to locate, evaluate, and employ facts in your own pursuit of information on any given topic. Because of our long-time commitments to freedom of inquiry, access to the works of our cultural heritage, and critical thinking about information and its sources, the DePaul University Library and the DePaul Art Museum will be participating on February 17, 2017, in the Day of Facts campaign.
#DayofFacts is an international social media campaign allowing museums, libraries, archives, cultural institutions, science centers and other trusted public sources of knowledge to share mission-related content, both as this relates to the role of these institutions in promoting an educated public and an informed electorate, and as it relates to the core missions of their broader communities. At DePaul, we may focus on resources designed to help you to “spot ‘fake news’” or on resources available in our library to help you find facts on topics such as immigration, refugees and forced migration, civil rights, women’s rights, crime statistics, or public education.
The DePaul University Library will be collaborating with colleagues in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs throughout the remainder of this year to promote the study of free speech, intellectual freedom, media literacy, and other concerns fundamental to the core values of librarianship and to the mission, vision, and values of our library and our university. We look forward to working with you on the #DayofFacts, and beyond.
If your department or program will also be participating in the Day of Facts, please let us know and we will work to collect and share all the facts coming from DePaul next Friday.