The Role of Library and Information Science Professionals in Combating Fake News and Infodemic During Public Health Emergencies: Reflections on COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria

  • Ijeoma J. Ibegbulam Deputy University Librarian, Medical Library, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla
  • Anthonia N. Ejikeme Principal Librarian, Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Fidelia N. Enem Principal Librarian, Law Library, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
Keywords: Fake News, Infodemic, Librarians, Libraries, Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19 Pandemic, Public Health Emergency


Humanity was accosted by one of its biggest challenges with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem was far-reaching and devastating; its spread was readily aided by fake news and infodemic. Indeed, the rapidity of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the high mortality rate coupled with the fact that little was known of the new strain of the disease sent people into a panic search for information that could help them understand the disease and preventative or mitigation measures. This was more serious in developing countries like Nigeria faced with low levels of literacy, a dilapidated healthcare system and a proclivity to attach supernatural tags to uncommon matters. This attitude made the problem more difficult to address. Fake news was freely disseminated through social media. Given their skill sets as information professionals, librarians in Nigeria and elsewhere have a role to play in the fight against fake news and infodemic especially during public health emergencies. This paper advocates for the use of the following strategies as a panacea for curbing infodemic and the dissemination of fake news and curbing infodemic. The strategies include information literacy, information re-packaging, oral librarianship, current awareness service (CAS), use of social media, building online resources collaborations and partnerships among others. The paper concludes by calling on librarians to play a more proactive role in any public health emergencies.