ENCOURAGING Global Information Literacy by ProQuest


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									                           hile much has been done to address the digital divide, The importance

               W           awareness concerning the importance of information
                           literacy (IL) has taken a back seat to a world that fo- of information
                cuses on technology. Librarians and educators have done amaz-
                ing things to address the content and context side of the infor- literacy has
                mation and knowledge continuum, but how to apply what
                they’ve learned and developed outside these communities has
                                                                                        taken a back
                proved challenging. Many sectors need assistance adapting
                                                                                        seat to a world
                these models and guidelines to their own situations; variations
                in culture mean that the starting points for discussion con- that focuses on
                cerning information literacy, and the emphasis of information
                literacy training efforts, must shift to take into consideration technology.
                the needs of a social group.
                    This article traces the genesis of a global effort to address information liter-
                acy education and training beyond discussions taking place within the library
                and education communities. UNESCO (www.unesco.org), in cooperation with
                key allies, has worked to take the fruits of individual efforts—by nations in the
                form of information literacy policies; by organizations such as library associa-
                tions around the world; and by entities such as universities that have imple-
                mented successful information literacy programs—and make them more acces-
                sible to those who are in a position to provide information literacy education,
                training, and guidance within their own institutions and beyond. We have been
                involved in the literacy programs. In the next few pages, we review the progress
                made thus far and present a vision for future actions that are required to ensure
                that information literacy training expands beyond the countries and institutions
                where it is most prevalent today. We close the article with a representative sam-
                pling of resources available on information literacy program design, develop-
                ment, and implementation that has been helpful to participants of UNESCO-
                sponsored workshops. (See the chart starting on page 28.)


6 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008 » www.infotoday.com
                                   COMPUTERS IN LIBRARIES
                                 encouraging global information literacy

by   Forest Woody Horton Jr.
          and Barbie E. Keiser

                      www.infotoday.com « NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008           |7
   encouraging global information literacy

                                                                     Information Literacy
                                                                     Information literacy (IL), as defined by the American Library Association (ALA), is the
                                                                     ability “to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, eval-
                                                                     uate, and use effectively the needed information. […] Ultimately, information literate
                                                                     people are those who have learned how to learn.” IL is a requisite competence to
                                                                     thrive in today’s knowledge society, where there is an information component to
                                                                     everything we do, every product we use, and every service we access. This exten-
                                                                     sion of the traditional definition of basic literacy (i.e., reading and writing) is just one
                                                                     of a series of 21st-century competencies being addressed by education organiza-
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