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National Library of Estonia advances media literacy

31. October 2023

Media literacy is acquiring increasing importance in today’s information flood and it reflects in many spheres of life. For example, starting from 2024, Estonian schools will be obliged to teach the course „Media and influencing“, thus making Estonia the first country in the Baltics to teach the subject of media literacy at the upper secondary school level.

As libraries have become community, cultural and learning centres, they have also acquired an important role in providing media-related knowledge and educating the users. At the National Library of Estonia we try to keep up with the needs and developments in the society.

In 2021, the National Library of Estonia began to collect literature on disinformation and information manipulation – the keywords being literacy, misinformation, disinformation, information manipulations, information attacks, information operations, information warfare, propaganda, fake news. This collection has grown considerably in a couple of years. We mediate studies and analyses conducted by Estonian researchers and experts, we collect and recommend web pages where users can find guidance on media literacy and identifying false information. We have started to develop a cooperation network of authorities dealing with disinformation and information security.

Our media literacy specialists regularly write blog posts about media education and the identification of false information, analyse articles (particularly related to the war in Ukraine) and explain terms. We closely collaborate with the Estonian professional library journal and the terminology working group of the Estonian Librarians’ Association.

The Education Centre team of the National Library offers media literacy lessons for both schoolchildren and adults – they go to schools, invite young people to the library, and also provide online lessons. A new class introducing AI has been created for upper secondary schools – “Beat the Artificial Intelligence”, a card game for schoolchildren „Smarter Than the Troll“ introduces media literacy and explains new terms. The Centre also organises seminars for librarians to discuss different forms of media, analyse manipulations in the media, etc.

Card game “Smarter Than the Troll”

The last week of October has globally been commemorated as media literacy week. In Estonia we celebrated it with the annual media conference “Media Education 2.0: Don’t Be Gullible!”, held for the third time in 2023 and organised by the National Library of Estonia and the University of Tartu in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, the representation of the European Commission in Estonia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Police and Border Guard Board. The audience of over one hundred, mostly teachers, could listen to presentations on the first day and attend practical workshops on the second day. At the end of the conference, the Ministry of Education and Research recognised the most prominent teachers of media literacy.

Photo gallery by Raigo Pajula:

“Media Education 2.0: Don’t Be Gullible!” in Tartu