Information Literacy And The Public Library

1684 words - 7 pages

The American Association for School Libraries defines information literacy as the ability to use many types of reference resources and literacies to find information. The different types of reference resources and literacies include: digital, visual, textual, and technological literacies. The American Association for School Libraries has four main learning standards. The first covers inquiry, thinking critically, and gaining knowledge. The second standard includes drawing conclusions, making informal decisions, applying knowledge to new situations, and creating new knowledge. The third standard asks students to be able to share knowledge and participate ethically. It also requires them to be productive as members of our democratic society. The fourth standard asks students to pursue personal and aesthetic growth. (http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf)
The importance of information literacy in the 21st century can be seen in the new ways technology is affecting information and the way it is delivered. According to Heider (2009) “research suggests that early information literacy instruction, using informational texts and collaborative, teacher-librarian curriculum planning, promotes critical thinking and increases the ability to problem-solve—two skills necessary for survival in today’s Information Age” (p. 513) Problem solving is a skill that is transferable across disciplines. Heider (2009) also discusses the rapid growth of the amount of information available on the Internet and how this growth is making it increasingly difficult for educators (and librarians) to “prepare students for the future without teaching them how to be effective information managers” (p. 513). Librarians are in the perfect position to demonstrate to students how to manage the vast amounts of information available to them. “There is evidence of a wide range of information literacy focused programs in public libraries worldwide” (Harding, p. 157). Indeed, libraries across the United States are finding ways to provide their communities with the necessary information literacy programs. Harding (2008) points out that these library programs are “providing information literacy support”, and “they have the opportunity to foster the lifelong learning of their communities” (p. 157). The public library has great strengths when it comes to providing information literacy programming. Public libraries have been considered the place to go for continuing education for an extremely long time. Public libraries reach a large range of people on a daily basis. Harding (2008) points out that the library “has a wide diversity of clientele and the potential to reach all sections of the community from children to older adults, and across minority groups and educational and professional levels.” (p. 159) For many children, a public library is their first experience with learning in a group environment....

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