Information Literacy Is Satire News?


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Can’t You Take a Joke?

The Pew Research Center has done a study about where people get their news from. Surprisingly approximately 15% of people surveyed consider The Colbert Report a trusted source for news.

For some, the satiric ‘Colbert Report’ is a trusted source of political news

Bob Hope and Fred Allen

Political Satire has long been a part of American popular culture. Bob Hope and Fred Allen are early adapters of the monologue as part of their radio shows where political quips and jokes are made. (Sadly this means there are often jokes that people at the time got, but we don’t get today.)

Although these comedy reports might make you aware of a topic you’d follow up on, they wouldn’t take the place of legitimate news sources. However, around 15% of people view the Colbert Report as a legitimate news source. They ignore both the fact that exaggeration is a frequent device in comedy and that the comedy comes from a certain political bent.

Take With a Grain of Salt

So no matter what your sources of news, don’t pick just one single source. Don’t trust a comedian to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Information Literacy Millennial Spokesman


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Just because someone says something about themselves and get it published doesn’t mean that it’s true. It’s easy to hear that there are people online who aren’t who they say they are. Here’s on story of man who has made a fortune, partly by pretending to be younger than he is and part of a generation who could easily be his children. Then he hops into articles by willing to be a secondary source on any idea a journalist wants to promote, just so they promote him, too!

An Online Fake

“Millennial Dan Nainan Left Intel To Make His Millions Entertaining Others With Comedy” ran the article in Forbes in 2017. In this profile and several others he claims to be 35. Ben Collins, a Daily Beast reporter, tracked down the details of his life. Combining official records with his given timeline makes his story of his life makes no sense. A record of speeding ticket he got in 1987 would have been when he was 6 years old. He would have been a senior engineer at Intel as a 17 year old in 1998. He seems to be trying to be 35 longer than Jack Benny was 39.

Double Check Your Facts

As Collins points out in his article (linked above), Nainan has been referenced as being 35 and a part of the Millennial generation over and over in mainstream publications. He’s been listed as 31 and 35 in the same year. He’s been listed as 35 in different years. Public records including his birth record and an old traffic ticket show he is isn’t. Publications, readily available on the web, have done stories before this. He is 57.

So when you are working on a paper, don’t necessarily trust the first source you come to. Don’t trust a source that makes it too easy to “prove” what you want. Double check you can find more than one source that says the same thing. It really doesn’t matter much what age Nainan is. However, there are lot of things in both academia (what really caused the Civil War) and real life (is that really the best deal on a refrigerator) that you will find people trying to deceive you about. Double check before you put something out there.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Nonfiction November 2020 – Week 4

As I’ve been promising all month, this week’s Nonfiction November post will be full of reader recommendations. Some of the titles are available in the Kirkwood library and some are not. If they are, the title is a link to our catalog for more information.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, Call Number: 616.8 C132b      Sarah Y. says: It’s part medical mystery, part illness memoir, and one of the most riveting stories – fiction or non-fiction – that I’ve ever read.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson, Call Number: 943.086 L334i  Jan L. says: This is a first hand account of the rise of Hitler about 1933. It is first a story of hope and rebuilding Germany after WWI and then it slides into the true story of atrocities and horror. William Dodd was the new Ambassador to Germany and as he began to see what was really happening around him he tried to tell the U.S. government but no one really believed him nor cared. This is well written as only Erik Larson can do and what could have been laborious was riveting and very thought provoking. 

Julie P. says: I thought back over the last few years to books I couldn’t stop talking about. I came up with about 4, but I will limit myself to two. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou, Call Number: 338.7 C315b I love books like this where you get to see the true rottenness of people. I wish it weren’t so, but as long as it is, we need to be reminded of it every so often. Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos planned to revolutionize the medical industry with a device that would make blood tests faster and easier. I have to assume she started with good intentions, but they quickly went bad and she blatantly lied and misled people, and cared so little for actual patient care, that you can’t really give her credit for anything.

Another book I couldn’t stop talking about a few years ago was The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland by Dan Barry, Call Number: 362.3 B279b This is the story of exploitation and abuse of several developmentally disabled men right here in Iowa (Atalissa). They were made to live in an old schoolhouse and they were forced to work in a turkey processing plant from 1974 to 2009 when they were finally freed with the help of social workers, journalists and a government lawyer.

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor, Call Number: 791.43 T239h  Sarah U. says: Taylor goes deep into the history of science fiction searching out the Space Fantasy and how it differs from regular science fiction. Then he goes through how both George Lucas and Star Wars were shaped by his life. But it goes beyond George Lucas and shows how fans have made the Star Wars part of every part of life. Doubt it? You try to find someone who even if they’ve never seen the movies doesn’t know “May the Force Be With You” or R2D2 and 3CPO or Jedi Knights or “Luke, I AM your father!”

Ordinarily Sacred by Lynda Sexson (not available in the Kirkwood Library) Kate S. says: a slim collection of essays published in 1982. The essays are connected by a common theme of things and experiences in our everyday lives which have a forgotten connection to the spiritual or religious. Each essay is beautiful and evocative, with an intimate style that feels like your own thoughts whispering in your head. 

The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa by Cornelia Fleischer Mutel, Call Number: 508.777 M992e  Kate S. says: published in 2008, delivers just what its title promises. Mutel, a science writer with the University of Iowa College of Engineering, manages to imbue her precise and thorough treatment of the natural history of Iowa (going back to prehistoric times and up to the present day) with lyricism and care. This is one of my favorite kinds of nonfiction books – one that surprised me with both undreamed of information and an engaging delivery.

The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt by Randall Sullivan (not available in the Kirkwood Library)  Sarah U. says: Have you fallen under the Curse?  There is an island in the north Atlantic where people have been hunting for treasure for over 200 years. Some searched for a windfall, but the current treasure hunters are searching for information (no way they’re going to find anything physical to pay back what they’ve already spent). What the heck went on there? This book takes you through the history of Oak Island back to when they first found the money pit. It ends a couple of years back (it takes awhile to put out a book!) so some of the most impressive discoveries aren’t included, but if you’ve ever wanted to know the background of the search this book is a treat. 

Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art by Gene Wilder (not available in the Kirkwood Library)  Kate S. says: this is the well-loved actor’s autobiography, published in 2005. The book is not an exhaustive life story, but more a collection of individual recollections from Wilder’s life. He goes back to his childhood, touches on his time in Iowa City at the University of Iowa, and goes into his years married to Gilda Radner. There are of course lots of stories from his life in the movies too, working with Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, and many other notable names. This book is hilarious and heartbreaking in turn, but you walk away feeling heartened, and very glad that this lovely human being walked the earth for a time and shared his talents with 

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, Call Number: 305.896 L427h SassyKat W. says: This is a memoir written from the perspective of a black academic speaking to his mother.  (Given the style and subject matter, those who liked Between the World and Me might especially enjoy this book.)  Laymon’s life is interesting and full of challenges, and two of the most prevalent themes are his mother’s insistence that he read and write constantly and his fluctuating perspectives on food and his body.  The writing is also very poetic if you’re into that kind of thing.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink, Available as ebook to people with a Kirkwood K#. SassyKat W. says: Five Daysthis is about the use of euthanasia during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at a New Orleans hospital.  Despite that tragedy being fairly recent, many people can barely recall this bonkers aspect of the story.  This book also engages in the related issues of medical ethics around end-of-life decisions and to some extent the impact of race and class on Katrina responses at medical facilities.  One of the best books I’ve read this year.  Be warned: dogs die in this book.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (not available in the Kirkwood Library) SassyKat W. says: This book is laugh out loud funny, especially the audiobook read by the author.  Samantha Irby is a queer humorist with numerous health issues and a hilarious critic of how terrible all people are.  This is a great pick for people who are past the partying phase and just want to hang out in sweat pants and be left alone.

Marcy P. recommends: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (not available in the Kirkwood Library) It was fascinating to learn about these women throughout the very complex relationships they were in.  Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, Call Number 270.092 W536e. It was very inspiring to read about her difficult upbringing and how she became the person she wanted to be and saved herself.  She is also currently reading Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt by Todd Harra (not available in the Kirkwood Library) It’s a humorous telling of experiences they have had working in the funeral industry. So far, nothing has been gory or in poor taste.

Thanksgiving Break Hours 2020


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This year BOTH the Cedar Rapids branch and the Iowa City branch of Kirkwood’s Library Services will have the same hours over break.

Sat., Nov. 21st

8:30 am – 4:00 pm
(Online Only – Chat us!)

Sun., Nov. 22nd   


Mon., Nov. 23rd      –              ……………..Tues., Nov. 24th

8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Wed., Nov. 25th –                       ………………..Sat., Nov. 26th


Sun., Nov. 27th

3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Since there is no official Finals Week this year, the library will NOT be having special hours. We’ll keep with our current hours thru Dec. 14th. Then we’ll start our normal between semesters 8am-5pm, no weekends schedule. Check back for the Dec.-Jan dates.

PLEASE NOTE: These hours are correct according to our current information. If college policy alters as the COVID-19 situation changes they may also change. Please check before making a special trip.

Current Fall Hours for Cedar Rapids:
Mon. – Thurs. 7:30 am – 9:00 pm
Fri.  7:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sat. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Online Only)
Sun. 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Information Literacy Your Website Is Watching You


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Have you ever gotten the feeling as you were working online that someone was watching you? Turns out you probably weren’t wrong.

According to Ars Technica: “A new study finds hundreds of sites—including,, and—employ scripts that record visitors’ keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted.”

So private information is inputted into these sites. The recording information may start before you submit anything. These records are made and analyzed by third party organizations, with even less oversight often without giving you any notification. Information like medical conditions or credit card numbers are multiplied across sites around the web.

As it stands today there isn’t a lot a user can do in response. Be careful and selective in where you put your true information online. Using ad-blockers and the “Do Not Track” option built into browsers stopped some, but not all such tracking. So for the most part be restrictive about where you put your personal data online.

Take Helen Parr’s advice from The Incredibles: “Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it. ”

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Nonfiction November 2020 – Week 3

For this week I couldn’t decide if I wanted to hightlight some of the very newest nonfiction added to our collection or if I wanted to highlight some newish historical themed nonfiction. 

When I looked at our shelf of new books, I was (mildly) surprised to see that many of the newest titles were on historical topics. So here you go… Books we’ve added to our collection in the last 2 weeks that have some historical aspect to them.

Next week I will be sharing reader recommendations. If you have a favorite nonfiction title (or more) that you want to share, comment on this post, or email and give me your first name, book title and a sentence or two telling me why you like and recommend the book.

Posted by Julie – one of your Kirkwood Librarians

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, Call Number: 305.512 W681c

Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel, Call Number: 306.362 M134s

Female Husbands: A Trans History by Jen Manion, Call Number: 306.768 M278f

Good Pictures: A History of Popular Photography by Kim Biel, Call Number: 770.1 B422g

Olympic Pride, American Justice: The Untold Story of 18 African Americans Who Defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to Compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Deborah Riley Draper & Travis Thrasher, Call Number: 796.48 D765o

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff, Call Number: 973.931 G736o

Classics of the Week

I’m attempting to stay with the theme here. These are “classics” that at the time of publication, were considered to be on historical topics.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond, Call Number: 303.4 D537g Originally published in 1997

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel, Call Number: 338.54 T318h Originally published in 1970

Cosmos by Carl Sagan, Call Number: 520 S129c Originally published in 1980

A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking, Call Number: 523.1 H392br Originally published in 1988

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi, Call Number: 854.914 L664p Originally published in 1975 – an impassioned response to the Holocaust: Consisting of 21 short stories, each possessing the name of a chemical element.

Hiroshima by John Hersey, Call Number: 940.544 H572h 1989 Originally published in 1946, this 1989 edition includes a final chapter with followup information about the people whose storied he had told in 1946.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown, Call Number: 970.5 B877b Originally published in 1970




Information Literacy What You Put Online Stays Online



Here is a thing that many people don’t seem to know – what you put online stays online AND other people can see it.

Scan and Save is a Thing

You’ll see many articles that include notice that something comes from “a now deleted tweet.” Just because you delete a tweet or a Facebook post doesn’t mean that it’s disappeared. Tweets are especially durable. They are easy to screen capture and there are even systems that automatically scan and save tweets for future searching.

People, like Rose McGowan referring to the N-Word, Alec Baldwin lashed out at a film critic who savaged a documentary he made, have tweets saved and passed on. Deleting doesn’t solve the problem and most people not faced with immediate controversy don’t delete or review old tweets anyway. The tweets slip on down the list, now unread and unattended, but they may still pop to the surface.

In fact, the MLA citation system even has an official format for a deleted tweet.

A Beer Story

An Iowa story very noisily hit the air waves. Carson King accidentally started a fundraiser and generously agreed to turn it over to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. When Des Moines Register reporter Aaron Calvin did a story on him, he found time to scroll back years through King’s timeline and found two objectionable tweets. When Calvin interviewed King he challenged him about them. King was now appalled at what he had tweeted and immediately had a mea culpa press conference leading the beer company who had picked up the campaign to immediately cut ties. The Register, having had its big scoop short circuited by King’s press conference did publish the tweets and his response in the article but slanted the article very positively and stuck the tweets at the end of the article hoping everyone would forget about it. Anyone should be able to live up to that kind of background check if they wanted any kind of public life or press The Register insisted – their employees did. People were infuriated that instead of focusing on the current fundraiser that The Register spent time and money looking up King’s old tweets that they pounced on Calvin’s old feed — and immediately found more than 2 objectionable tweets on a variety of subjects. This time it was The Register that cut ties and has been attempting to backpedal ever since. Calvin wrote a piece explaining his very different take on what happened.

BUT our point is that just because time has gone by does NOT make what you post disappear and that even things you deleted might still be out there somewhere.

You Don’t Have To Be Famous

Just because you aren’t famous or aren’t in the media’s eye, does NOT mean that the only people who can see or read what you post are friends and family. For instance, I recently found someone’s tweet on a hashtag. I responded to their question and then some other people who follow that hashtag responded. She couldn’t believe it – apparently not understanding how hashtags work – she angrily tweeted that her posts were only meant to be seen by her friends. Other people finding her tweet via hashtag lead to her being tagged in on 4 or 5 tweets she didn’t want to read. The consequences can be much more serious that that. (See note)

Teenage Examples of Things That Got Them in Trouble Right after Posting

Harvard Acceptances Revoked and Revoked Again

People Got Fired (From 2016, but only descriptions of things people said happened on reddit)

CBS VP Fired

Life Lesson Take Away

So in the end  the take away lesson is this – other people can read what you write online, now and in the future. Inc put together a column of advice on how to not let this be you.

NOTE: Just in case you don’t know. Hashtags were created to string together different tweets that had tagged themselves as having a certain subject. Anytime someone searches that hashtag or clicks the hashtag hyperlink within a certain tweet a list pulls up of all tweets that used that hashtag. Quite a few people you see tweeting stuff using hashtags in a similar way to saying very and thinking they are clever. However you mean the hashtags to work it still automatically links your tweet to others and to someone searching on the hashtags (which lots of people do) will find you tweet. Even more than just posting your stuff to begin with it makes it easy for people who don’t know you to find things you posted. That is supposed to be a good thing and it is, as long as you mean to shout whatever you’re hashtagging from the rooftops.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Information Literacy Check Your Photos



Photos, Photos Everywhere

One of the consequences of the social media revolution has been an skyrocket in the number of photos that are available. Most times when there is a newsworthy or at least SORT OF newsworthy event you can trust on an army worth of people to take and post photos across social media platforms whether through general formats like Facebook and Twitter or photo specific platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

What’s Wrong With This Photo?

Posted photos are often passed on without a thought. If it’s on the Internet it has to be true right? WRONG! While many of these photos are exactly what they claim, others are nowhere near what they say they are.

Sometimes like a quote magnet (a famous person who a quote is attributed to making the quote sound smarter) photos just pick up a false attribution to make the quote better. A photo of an alligator in a Miami yard may not be that big of a deal, but if you claim it’s from Chicago then THAT’s worth sharing.

Sometimes people may find a photo that illustrates a story better than what you can find with real photos. No one wants to tell a story about a riot and only have pictures of peaceful protesters and respectful cops – even if those are all the photos that were actually taken at that time or in that place (exciting photos are often used over and over again with the reason for the event and what groups were involved changed in the accompanying text). Sometimes there aren’t provable, clear enough to publish photos of something that really DID happen. But people always want a photo with a story.

Sometimes photos are deliberately altered. Photos can be combined, people or objects can be added or altered. Alternately sometimes photos that are genuine are thought false. (And NO sadly Teddy Roosevelt never rode a moose.)

Reverse the Search!

If you’re wondering about an image a way to check it out before you share is to use a reverse image search like Google Images or TinEye, copy the image in and search. It will give you results about where the photo has been used before and if anyone has flagged it. If it’s big enough to be a news story you call also check sites like Snopes to see if there is more to the story. Sometimes the story really isn’t what you see.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Information Literacy Awareness 2020


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This is National Information Literacy Awareness Month. Although not publicized nearly as much as it was when it was first declared in 2009, libraries shine a spotlight on Information Literacy.

Information Literacy

According to the American Library Association information literacy is: “Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources.”

In other words information literacy is the ability to realize when you need information and then find it, evaluate it, and use it to answer your question or complete your project.

Kirkwood Stands Out

Although library services try to teach information literacy all year, we take a special focus this month. Here are highlights of our previous Information Literacy Posts.

What is Information Literacy?

Things to Think and Know About

Keep calm, think it through and we’ll be back with more helpful tips this year!

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.

Nonfiction November 2020 – Week 2


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The Merriam-Webster definition of nonfiction is simply : writing or cinema that is about facts or real events

There are so many types of nonfiction that everybody should be able to find something to pique their interest.

Nonfiction is often put into categories such as Narrative (memoir, autobiography), Expository (explanations or information on a topic), Persuasive or Argumentative (position taken on a side), and Descriptive (illustrative – such as travel writing).

Within those categories you will find opinions, essays, biographies, true crime, journalism, historical, scientific/technical writing, and so much more.

Some of the best nonfiction in my opinion can include more than one of those things at a time. Included in the list below is the book The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper. This book includes biographical information on the five women. It’s also true crime AND it’s historical!

For this week’s list of books, I am going to include true crime and memoir. Some of the books might include elements of both.  If you really like memoir, or would like to explore that a little more, you can go to our memoir guide to find many more titles. 

I will continue to post each of the next two weeks. If you have any favorites you want to share, please comment on this post or send an email to and in a future post I can include your first name, book title, and a brief description of why you loved it or why you recommend it.

Posted by Julie – one of your Kirkwood Librarians

Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper, Call Number: 286.5 P541u

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold, Call Number: 364.152 R895f

The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts who Brought Him Down by Abigail Pesta, Call Number: 364.153 P476g

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, Call Number: 371.782 M647k

Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwami Onwuachi, Call Number: 641.509 O598n

Rough Magic: Riding the Word’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer, Call Number: 798.4 P958r

Classics of the Week

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, Call Number: 345.73 W724b

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Call Number: 364.1 C246i

Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, Call Number: 813.52 H488mo

Black Boy : (American Hunger) : A Record of Childhood and Youth by Richard Wright, Call Number: 813.52 W952b

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Call Number: 813.54 A584i

My Dark Places: An L.A. Crime Memoir by James Ellroy, Call Number: 813.54 E47m