Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 6, 2013

Urban legends decoded at library

KHCPL deciphers fact from fiction with teens.

Fact can be enhanced and altered in the era of social media. Recognizing this reality, the Kokomo Howard County Public Library is weeding through twisted and embellished words to help Kokomo teens discern truth from fiction at the first ever Mythbusters and Urban Legends event scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the library’s main branch, 220 N. Union. St.

KHCLPL Teen Librarian Melissa Wheelock said teens see tainted tales every day on their Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds. She said even when they are searching for the cold hard facts they can find themselves caught in a web of confusion and inaccuracies.

“Kids can’t go a single day without running into a myth or urban legend on Facebook posts, they have to learn they can’t take those words for certain and need to learn how to look at [such things] with skepticism,” she said.

But busting myths doesn’t have to provoke boredom.

Wheelock said KHCPL is making sure the night will be a blast by making the program a game-show style event.

“There will be categories and teams and it will be a way for kids to have with identifying how true or how false something is while helping them learn not everything you read off Facebook is fact,” Wheelock said. “It will be a little bit like Jeopardy.”

The twists and turns of living in a world with up-to-the-minute updates can be fun to keep up with, but as Wheelock said, it can skew reality for the next generation’s minds.

“Literacy is more than being able to read, it’s also being a skeptical reader; knowing how to look more into something when you read and not believe everything you read,” Wheelock said. “It’s important to prepare our students to be informed adults. They are our future voters, future leaders and they need to know how to discern fact from fiction. It benefits all of us in the long run.”

For more information, contact KHCPL at 765-457-3242.

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