ADVANCING INFORMATION LITERACY BY Robert Wedgeworth www.proliteracy.org November 2, 2006
BACKGROUND • As a librarian: technical services, systems, management. • As an observer and chronicler • As an advocate for literacy • As an early initiate to information literacy
EVOLUTION OF LITERACY • 20th century literacy: reading and writing • 21st century literacy: reading and writing plus new formats and technologies • Information literacy: added critical thinking plus a willingness to view the process of learning in new and different ways.
INFORMATION LITERACY • Definition: “To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the information needed”. • *ALA Presidential Commission on Information Literacy, 1989.
ESSENTIALS OF INFORMATION LITERACY • Mastery of skills • Experience in application • Literacy spectrum • Understanding the challenges and the barriers
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT LITERACY (READING) • Reading is difficult for some • Reading is an unnatural act • Reading induces a psychological spiral up or down • Comprehension is the key • Improvement comes only with practice
MYTHS ABOUT READING • Early problems disappear with maturity • Slow readers lack intelligence
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT AT CORNELL? • More students entering college with less than adequate literacy skills • More time spent by faculty teaching basics that should have been learned earlier. • Information Literacy limitations do not respect age, race, class, or socioeconomic status
PLUSES: Learning materials Professionally-trained staff Facilities as labs for learning MINUSES: Need developmental information literacy programs for-- Diagnostics Application practice Measurement and Evaluation LIBRARIES AND INFORMATION
DIAGNOSTICS • Self-assessment of literacy skills • Professional assessment of literacy skills • Recommending developmental programs
APPLICATION PRACTICE • Creating scheduled opportunities to apply developmental recommendations • Monitoring developmental programs • Adjusting developmental recommendations as indicated
MEASURING OUTCOMES • Develop assessment practices based on information literacy needs. • Measure progress toward information literacy goals • Maintain records and follow-up assessments to demonstrate outcomes of information literacy training
LEADERSHIP INSTITUTIONS • Special contributions of private institutions • Early adopters • Innovators • Desire to be the best • Willingness to share successes
LEADERSHIP INSTITUTIONS • More difficult for public institutions to lead • Governance systems inhibit innovation • Funding systems require greater accountability • Staffing patterns lack flexibility
LEADERS NEED TO LEAD • Do not wait to be crowned • Exert leadership in fulfilling mission • Beg, borrow or steal innovations that can assist your institutions • Wag your own tail
AGE OF THE USER • Internet is the full employment for librarians • Library systems and infrastructures exist to support and assist users • Information Literacy is fundamental to success in the Digital Age • Libraries are a natural home for Information Literacy