31 March 2009

LILAC09: Leslie Burger: “From Information Literacy to Digital Citizenship: Libraries and the New Democracy”

Leslie Burger, former ALA President and Director of Princeton
“From Information Literacy to Digital Citizenship: Libraries and the New Democracy”

Thinking from the perspective of a public librarian. Everyone here is academic.
“Libraries for all seasons and all reasons”: no matter what type of institution you are in feeds into the work we do in all of our institutions. In public libraries, doing much of the pre-literacy work: teaching them how to read, how to listen. The partnership between the school librarian and the public librarian; learning information literacy skills. Find themselves back in public libraries “trying to negotiate their way through the complex world we live in”.

How do we need to prepare our users to be digital citizens?
What is a digital citizen and why do I need to be one?
Do I need a separate passport to cross the web border?
Information in the currency of democracy—Jefferson

Learning on the job how to integrate digital resources into her work. How the world has changed: everyday, public libraries are teaching people how to be information literate but in a very different way—one person at a time. The teach-able moment. Isn’t this something we should be aiming towards everyday?

Information is power = example of the experimentation of prisoners being outlawed based on the information her class extracted in the 60s.

As she reads the 1989 ALA Statement: isn’t it interesting that it is always about how we can compete rather than what we want for ourselves? Hmm.

Top Trends:
• The web as ubiquitous throughout the world, not just in the developed world. It’s not always through computers. People get information in new ways.
• The web has changed the way we do business. Information is widely distributed and openly available.
• Information as a commodity. Not new to librarians: people that know how to find good information have a competitive advantage.
• People are communicating in a variety of ways. Tools that have the potential to change how we use information .
• Information consolidation. Too much available to ever use. Google is not altruistic. It is capitalistic. Sell back to us our own free information, example of Google Books. It might be free now, but it won’t be eventually.
• Library as a trusted resource
• Librarians on steroids—we are better than we were before. Skilled information navigators.
• More content than ever before. Playing on a more
• Librarians as the on ramp to the digital highway for those that don’t have access or can’t afford access. In the economic downturn, more people are turning to libraries. While the Gates foundation supplied significant funds to get many libraries new computers, those computers are now 6-7 years old. The problem when help comes from NGOs—what do you do when the grant is over?
• Information fuels our democracy.
o Taking issue with Melissa Highton’s point that the
o Book recommendation “Digital citenzship—Mossburger” people that are internet savvy participate to a lesser degree?

Concerns about the demise of the newspaper. What is happening to investigative journalism, can we really trust the bloggers???

Libraries were not an essential part of teaching to the test during NCLB. This puts into question about how ubiquitious information literacy is in our K-12 educations. A GAP!

Two issues:
Helping people navigate from the “old way” to the “new way”
How can we augment what is missing in our school libraries, both in terms of IL instruction as well as support their research needs (eg. school libraries closing at 3 pm: do they turn off the need for information for those school students? Of course not. So they turn to public libraries.) Asking faculty or teachers to come to the library to do the assignment at the public library, since that is where students are.

Give me the answer: sometimes they just want the answer and we have to wait for a teachable moment. Dual screens.
Consider each interaction an opportunity to change someone’s life!

Public libraries need to be looking at the K-12 IL standards.

Highlighting a number of public library sites: Spokane, San Fran, Central Illinois.
New Jersey state library: Helping Residents Through Tough Economic Times. COOL.

ALA’s E-Government resources.
Online Information literacy: the role of YouTube for the most basic to more advanced tools. IDEA for Andy for the next video: let’s get MORE advanced, not easier.

Information Literacy for the People:
Monitoring trends: what is going on? What is shifting? What do our services need to look like?
Market!!! We need to get out of the idea that they know to come to us. We need to TELL THEM to come to us.
Make information seeking fun: engage them in the moment.
Tie your information literacy moments to solving real life problems. Let’s be where we are needed and providing instruction in things that people are interested in or challenged by. We learn from eachother.
Reach out to those that need you the most; go for the unexpected. Be where people are and might not expect you to be.
LEAD THE WAY & Never give up.

We are in a values driven profession with the opportunity to change people’s lives.

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