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Look to librarians for practical problem-solving

Elizabeth Ramsey
Elizabeth Ramsey

Elizabeth Ramsey, an associate professor and librarian at Boise State’s Albertsons Library, recently published a peer-reviewed article: “Unlikely partners in a media literacy initiative.” Ramsey’s collaboration with Isaac Castellano, a political science professor, and Anthony Ellertson, director of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile technology program, helped secure a grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program.

“Academic librarians are the ultimate interdisciplinarians, and would seem to be natural research collaborators, but many struggle to be seen as peers by other faculty or called on to fully partner in research projects even when key information literacy objectives are involved,” explains Ramsey. This paradox was put to the test when Castellano invited her to join the team who was eventually awarded the grant.

Ramsey’s research about misinformation online and in social media included establishing last spring’s Disinfo Squad. Boise State undergraduates were hired into the squad and then trained as information literacy educators and influencers in the community. This idea supported the grant by attempting to strengthen community resistance to the disinformation that often factors in extremist belief and action. 

The article documents Ramsey’s successful partnership with on- and off-campus groups to help fulfill the grant’s mission to combat the increase in rising domestic terrorism. It is also an encouraging “how to” process for including faculty librarians in research and developing practical solutions.