Tuesday Plenary Speaker

Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science, at the University of South Carolina. Her research and teaching interests include human information behavior, fake news consumption and resistance, critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship (with an emphasis on infusing them into LIS education and pedagogy).


Dr. Cooke was named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal in 2007, she was awarded the 2016 ALA Equality Award, and she was presented with the 2017 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award, presented by the Office for Diversity and Literacy Outreach Services.  She has also been honored as the Illinois Library Association’s 2019 Intellectual Freedom Award winner in recognition of her work in combating online hate and bullying in LIS, and she was selected as the Association for Library and Information Science Education's 2019 Excellence in Teaching award winner. 


Cooke has published numerous articles and book chapters. Her latest books are “Information Services to Diverse Populations” (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) and “Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-truth Era" (ALA Editions. 2018).  

Plenary AddressTell Me Sweet Little Lies: Racism, Bias Confirmation, and the Disinformation Epidemic 

The Internet is increasingly saturated with an inordinate amount of misinformation and disinformation (mis/dis). Mis/dis is information that is false, salacious, and even malicious enough to be damaging, especially as it pertains to images and messages related to people of color and other marginalized groups. If such information is ever challenged, retracted, disproved, or corrected, the damage has been done and the racist mis/dis lives on.  How can consumers become more competent and intelligent users of information, to the point of becoming culture jammers who interrogate and critique information to challenge the status quo and resist the dominant practices and messaging that demean or ignore those who fall outside of the norms of Western white culture? An approach to reaching this level of critical consumption is to impart literacy skills to information consumers. Specifically, information literacy, media literacy, racial literacy, and cultural literacy would facilitate the average Internet user’s ability to seek, find, and use appropriate information, which in turn would facilitate more thoughtful dialogues and learning. Literacy skills will enable a shift from the rote crowdsourcing of information to substance-based community inquiry processes.