President Obama’s 2009 proclamation was the first ever to recognize the critical importance of information literacy to the overall welfare of the American people. This presidential proclamation was just the first step in our efforts to integrate information literacy practice throughout our national educational and workforce development infrastructures.
All of us are faced with making countless decisions each day. How successful we are depends on a combination of skills known as “information literacy.” Information literacy means more than being able to read or use a computer. It means knowing how to find, evaluate, and use the best, most current information available to us. Librarians were among the first to identify the importance of information literacy in an information society.
In 1989, the American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy wrote: “How our country deals with the realities of the Information Age will have enormous impact on our democratic way of life and on our nation’s ability to compete internationally.” That was before the Internet became an information superhighway running through businesses, libraries, schools and, increasingly, our homes. The new millennium has brought an urgent need to help our schools, campuses and communities understand the changes that technology has brought, and how to reap the benefits and minimize the risks.
Information literacy means being information smart. It means knowing when a book may be more helpful than a computer. It means knowing how to find, evaluate and use information in all forms.
Information literacy is more than print literacy, computer literacy or media literacy. It means knowing when you need information, where to find it and how to evaluate and use it in your everyday life.
Information smart people lead satisfying lives. They know how to find quality information that will help them through family, medical or job crises. They are savvy consumers who know how to use information resources wisely for work and pleasure.
Information smart people run successful businesses. They know when they need data and what data they need to evaluate success and plan their future.
Information smart people know that what is true today may not be true tomorrow, that information is not the same as knowledge.
Do you have any stories about how a librarian has helped you? We would love to hear them!