Jon Jeffryes: March 2011 Archives

I just sped through this article...it was a lot more engaging than I was expecting.  (In my initial scan I saw mention of Habermas and that instantly brought up a red flag and with it fears that this article might be a dense theoretical slog).  Instead it proves to be a provocative read that  really gets you thinking about libraries' approaches to Information Literacy.

I was especially intrigued by their assertion that libraries have a tendency to look at information literacy as synonymous with "User Education" which they define as

An emphasis on teaching about the structures and facilities already created by librarians for their users, with a concentration on using the OPAC, how to search in databases, and how to find books in the library shelves....it seldom set out to promote a vision that was bigger than creating 'good' library users. (196)

Ouch.

And that's not all--here's their take on on the 1989 ALA definition of Information Literacy:

This is a rather dated and a typically narrow 'librarianship' definition, differing very little from the ways in which User Education was defined, although it will continue to be quoted because of the authority of the organization from which it comes. (197)

The authors instead advocate from shifting the foundational paradigm of Information Literacy that "start with a concept of information access as a human right, that leads us into the broad area of literacies and the programmes that support them." (199)  They believe that this new foundation will result in

The conclusion...that individuals need a broad and self-selected set of skills across the range of formats and media to support their human right to information. (200).

Question:  What do you think of their criticism of the library profession's definition and practice of Information Literacy?  Is it way off base or are there hints of accuracy?  What can we take away from this "outsider" perspective on the profession?  



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This page is an archive of recent entries written by Jon Jeffryes in March 2011.

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