Libraries seen as crucial in fight vs disinformation

Libraries seen as crucial in fight vs disinformation
This 2014 file photo shows a library overseas.
Michal Jarmoluk (Jarmoluk) via Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines – The creation of public libraries and improvement of existing ones all over the country, including those in public schools, is a must as these establishments are important in thwarting disinformation and the proliferation of fake news in social media.

This has been stressed by Quezon City First District Rep Arjo Atayde, who cited the importance of libraries not only on students’ academic success but also on the fight against disinformation.

“In the age of social media and internet, we are now dealing with different pieces of information which are very useful, but some of them are totally for disinformation (purposes) and fake news that we need to fight,” Atayde said in a speech during the launch of the new, state-of-the-art library at the Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School in Quezon City on Thursday,

“With libraries being improved or being built in various places or in public schools, our students can definitely learn and develop their skills to achieve their dreams,” added the neophyte lawmker. “This massive effort should be encouraged as every library we put up would benefit all students.”

Quezon City Rep. Arjo Atayde speaks during the launch of the library at the Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School.

Atayde said he is looking at helping to provide more books and computers for the libraries, and even to push for the digitization of resources to make them easier to access.

According to the 32-year-old actor-lawmaker, libraries will always be among the best avenues to combat the proliferation of fake news and disinformation from the internet.

Atayde, along with Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte (represented by Vice Mayor Gian Sotto), Bagong Pag-asa Barangay Captain Rodolfo Palma and other public officials, praised Interior Design students from the SoFA Design Institute for collaborating to build the library at Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School, which is inspired by the story and activity book "Ignited Souls."

“Libraries are beneficial in helping students develop skills such as critical thinking and media literacy,” he said. “It’s the tools our children need in a world where fake news and disinformation are becoming increasingly common, and threaten to undo the lessons taught in the four walls of the classroom.”

In the face of reality, the legislator said there have been proposals to tighten the regulations for social media and online platforms.

But Atayde believes that “libraries are powerful and effective tools against fake news.”

In addition to helping combat falsehoods online, the education advocate said that libraries are vital as “studies have shown that access to these can have a great significant impact on a child’s academic success.”

“Students who have access to libraries perform better in school, have higher reading scores, and are more likely to go on to higher education,” he said.

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