New Kensington common reading program will focus on information literacy

graphic for book cover of "Weaponized Lies"The Penn State New Kensington First Year Summer Reading Program book for 2017 will be “Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era,” by Daniel J. Levitin. Originally published in hardback as “The Field Guide to Lies,” this book provides an easy-to-read, entertaining look at basic critical thinking skills. I may be biased, as a librarian who is interested in this sort of thing, but I found the book downright hilarious, especially Levitin’s examples of the ways statistics can be manipulated. The chapter titles are things like “How Science Works,” “Logical Fallacies,” and my personal favorite, “Knowing What You Don’t Know.”

The book selection committee was unanimous in its choice, and so far it has been a wildly popular pick among faculty and staff. The way our program works is that the library uses endowment funding to purchase free copies of the book for each incoming student and also any faculty and staff who are interested. We gave away 2 boxes of books in the first 48 hours after I announced they were available!

Students will be discussing the book at orientation, plus there are plans underway for additional events and contests. I am hopeful that some faculty members will assign the parts of the book that are most relevant to their discipline in various classes, and it may be assigned in some sections of English 15.

– submitted by Jennifer Gilley, New Kensington