We know it, but no one else seems to.
Many organizations are looking at the definition of literacy and expanding it to include the knowledge and skills it takes to be an active participant in today’s society. What baffles me as I read through reports and recommendations from so many organizations is the lack of mention of libraries and librarians. There are a few such as this one from the Report from the Knight Commission:
Recommendation 7: Fund and support public libraries and other community institutions as centers of digital and media training, especially for adults.
or this one in a white paper from the MacAuthor Foundation
If anything, these traditional skills assume even greater importance as students venture beyond collections that have been screened by librarians and into the more open space of the web. Some of these skills have traditionally been taught by librarians who, in the modern era, are reconceptualizing their role less as curators of bounded collection and more as information facilitators who can help users find what they need, online or off, and can cultivate good strategies for searching material.
These are the only two I have found. Why are libraries missing?
The only place most people can receive instruction on these new literacies is at a library. There is no one else. While some students may be fortunate enough to be exposed in at school, either through teachers or the library, most are not. Adults have nowhere to turn but the public library. While I applaud all of these organizations for their efforts and reports and recommendations, I am dismayed at the lack of recommendations for funding and support for libraries. It is all well and good to write a report and a recommendation but what about real world application?
We (library people) know we are the ones providing this training. We know there is no one else. I have to ask – What are we doing wrong that no one else seems to know this? How do we communicate our role?
- Center for Media Literacy
- Partnership for 21st Century Skills
- National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)
- National Council of Teachers of English
- Digital Media and Learning – MacAuthur Foundation
- Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy
- 21st Century Literacy Summit
- ICT Digital Literacy Portal
- Center for Digital Literacy