- Category: Town Columns
By Ann McGarity
Tamworth was bustling with several Christmas fairs on Saturday, and I spent much of the day admiring the many crafts available at various locations, including Union Hall, where I was greeted warmly by Santa and bid on the silent auction. Over at The Community School, Director Lianne Prentice welcomed visitors to the school's popular Christmas Fair with its traditional decorated theme trees offered in a silent auction. Talented crafts people displayed items, including needle work, jewelry and pottery. I followed a delicious aroma to the kitchen and ordered curried pumpkin soup and grilled cheese sandwich and was lucky enough to sit with Jay Rancourt and her two grandchildren. Jay, former director of Cook Memorial Library, is often seen around Tamworth, clearly enjoying her retirement, which has given her more time to travel and pursue her art. This seems to be a good time to mention that Jay is exhibiting some of her paintings at Cook Library until the end of December.
Jay spent time at Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, this last August. This exhibition of gelatin prints includes both her work and that of other Haystack students. Gelatin prints are monotypes, some are modified by added media applications. She plans to teach a series of book arts workshops in January and February, which include gelatin prints, accordion books, flag books and paste paper. There is no charge for the workshops, which must be registered for individually. Stop by the library for more information.
A merry group of about 20 carolers walked from house to house singing, then gathered around the cheery bonfire-in-a-bowl Dannie Wasson had made outside Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes, joining the group already there. Tamworth fire trucks had been called to an emergency on Route 16, so Santa was a little tardy, and eventually arrived via police car. The tree lights were lit to loud cheers, and everyone climbed the stairs to a wonderful party at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes. Special thanks to Mark Smith for supplying the tree and Karl Behr and the Tamworth Outing Club for setting it up and decorating it; to Betty Wasson, Pat Cook and Barbara Walker for the great refreshments; to Becky VerPlanck for the cheerful piano music; to Santa; and to all involved.
There has been a lot of talk about "fake news" and the impact it has had on America's election, the public's every day influences and belief systems. The free press allows readers and writers the privilege and freedom to share information, opinions, rumors and satire, while giving the reader the responsibility of taking in or interpreting these through different lenses and deciphering the truth.
In an age of social media and 24-hour news sources, our information intake can seem constant. How do we sift through this information to find unbiased truth and disregard the rest?
The library is a great place to start in finding reputable resources and tools for finding them. EBSCO Explora is an online resource available through Conwaypubliclibrary.org. It provides a wealth of well-researched articles, including on the topic of media literacy. It may be accessed in the library with the assistance of a librarian or from the comfort of home.
Accredited universities often put out articles outlining their latest research such as Stanford's, "Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning," an executive summary, Stanford history education group, produced with the support of the Robert R. Mccormick Foundation.
Organizations such as the Digital Resource Center provides a wealth of information teaching media literacy, including evidence-based lesson plans and free courses to take online. For example, "Deconstructing a Viral Video" may be downloaded and read from this site.
The School Library Journal released an article by Joyce Valenzia in late November entitled, "Truth Truthiness Triangulation: A News Literacy Toolkit for a 'Post Truth' World." Valenzia talks about "challenges and responsibilities faced by professional journalists, and how over the past decade we've seen professional news organizations and governments struggle with the politics and potentially loaded words, notably terrorist and illegal immigrant." Valenzia talks about the importance of implementing media literacy and civics in school-based curriculum in order to equip students to take in information critically and wisely. She attaches a link to a youth-friendly video that outlines the history and development of news sources and how information has expanded to varying points of view. The video goes on to give tips on how to "choose your news." It's a useful piece to show a teen which can then serve as a discussion tool.
Whether you are an educator, parent, news or social media junkie, or just somebody looking for ways to sift through information to find the truths that speak to you, come to the Conway Public library. Friendly staff will be glad to help you get on the right track.
For information about the Conway Public Library call (603) 447-5552, "like" the Facebook page, go to www.conwaypubliclibrary.org or call (603) 447-5552.