Reconnecting Information Literacy Policy with the Core Values of Librarianship

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Library Trends





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In 2009, President Barack Obama declared October of that year to be National Information Literacy Awareness Month and issued a proclamation stating that "an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society." The Obama proclamation's emphasis on information literacy's role in education and democracy makes it akin to the 2005 Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning. In both of these documents, information literacy is located at the core of lifelong learning. It empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use, and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational, and educational goals. These two documents are powerful and inspiring to many academic librarians because they are reminders of the broader social context and democratic initiatives within their work. Inspiring as these documents are, they can also be intimidating and overwhelming: how can we help create an informed and educated citizenry or help our students meet technological, economic, and social challenges, to redress disadvantage and to advance the well-being of all? This article is not an attempt to provide answers to these questions but a call to move these questions to the fore of our policy and pedagogical discussions. By revisiting seminal documents like the Alexandria Proclamation, the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, and the American Library Association's (ALA) Core Values of Librarianship, we argue that information literacy is full of possibilities to explore rather than problems to be solved. To this end, we summon discussions of Appreciative Inquiry and critical information literacy and foreground the ALA Core Values as ways [End Page 383] to reengage with the possibilities and potentials within information literacy to meet larger social goals.


This article was first publishing Library Trends which is available here. Copyright (2013) The Johns Hopkins University Press