IL as preparation for life

Wow! April sure is going fast, isn’t it!

For our April journal club I asked you to consider CILIP’s Definition of Information Literacy 2018. How has everyone gone? I’d love to hear your insights! Leave me a comment or link me to your own blog post if you’ve got thoughts that you’d like to share.

I have been considering one specific section of the Definition:

Importantly, information literacy is empowering, and is an important contributor to democratic, inclusive, participatory societies;

I’ve been thinking about it in my own context as a librarian who works in a university library – to what extent do the information literacy services that I provide contribute to the development of democratic processes?

To help me consider this question I’ve posed another one – what is the purpose of a university? Now that’s too big a question for me to deal with today, so I’m narrowing it down a little bit to consider the students that I teach and create information literacy resources for. These students are undergraduates, postgraduates, and higher degree research candidates. What is the purpose of their study at university? I like to think it’s more than simply getting a qualification so that they can get a job. I like to think that a university education equips students for life by helping them to become:

  • critical and creative thinkers
  • problem solvers
  • effective communicators
  • good decision makers
  • lifelong learners

I think that it follows that graduates who are capable of reasoning, interpreting and evaluating information; who can read, listen and ask good questions; and who exercise their curiosity, reflect on their experiences and learn from them; will be well prepared and motivated to engage with their community and participate in initiatives towards an inclusive and just society.

Lofty goals, my friends!

And so, if our information literacy services are to contribute towards the development of these graduate attributes, we must ensure that we are teaching these underlying thinking skills rather than concentrating on training people to use tools.

What do you think?


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