……Well, not exactly.
You’ve just been victimized by clickbait, but don’t get upset. You see, the Harris County Public Library has a new website and we want traffic. We’re looking for hits & clicks and documentable, high usage. We want to draw in the residents of Harris County like teens to a Travis Scott concert! So, we had the IT wizards hole up in a bunker until they produced a sophisticated algorithm that factored in all of the recent reference questions and library searches and spit out these irresistible headlines;
“J.J. Watt reviews Area 51 cat videos”
“Beyoncé to perform with Marvin Zindler
hologram at restored Astrodome”
“Puppies, Tacos, and Bitcoins - What you
need to know”
…..Again, not exactly.
Yes, our IT department does work very hard, and we do want our website to be a gateway to knowledge, but as far as I know, there is no hidden IT bunker. These headlines are pure fiction. I just made them up, and although there are sophisticated algorithms that can generate strings of words specifically designed to catch your eye; here at the HCPL we’re trying to get your attention the old-fashioned way, by simply providing great content and helpful services on a platform that’s enjoyable to navigate and easy to read.
As a matter of fact, the Harris County Public Library should actually be seen as worst enemy of click bait; The antidote to fake news and disinformation. Our librarians are information professionals who can help customers actually make sense of the deluge of questionable information.
Of course, we have some great books on the subject; a quick search of the phrase “fake news” on our website led me to these great resources.
News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News
Internet Journalism and "Fake News"
But what if you need a guide; someone to brainstorm with to help navigate a complex issue. On call for you are our top-notch Librarians. They are a consistent, reliable source for reliable sources. They can get you to the information you need and help people make up their own minds. Our Librarians can supply you with multiple sources with a variety of perspectives. And should you question whether they might push their own agenda, one only needs to look at the first rule of the ALA’s (American Library Association) Code of Ethics.
“We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.”
And if you cannot make it to your local branch or it is after hours? Our Librarians are here to serve, 24/7 via chat, email or phone. That’s right, just submit your question and an actual person (not some fancy algorithm) will search for and provide you with answers.
Just click the link - Ask a Librarian
We mean it when we say, “Your Pathway to Knowledge.” Now more than ever it seems like the world we live in is just a minefield of clickbait and disinformation. The forces at work want to influence your opinion and are willing to be deceitful. Fortunately, there is a solution and you have found it. The Harris County Library is not only a pathway to knowledge but a gateway to truth.