In the world of libraries Information Literacy is something librarians are continuously explaining, defining, defending, and advocating. In defining it for fellow faculty and administrators we often start with the Association of College and Research Libraries definition. For students we try to make it relevant in terms that anyone can easily understand… hands-on workshops, LibGuides, and YouTube vignettes abound.
My first full-time librarian job was back in 1998 at a small private liberal arts college. They had just been through an accreditation review and knew this mysterious IL thing was important. While dear Sister Anne had provided excellent library service for 40-some-odd years, it was decided a new librarian was needed to keep the library current. And just to be sure they covered that IL thing, they gave me the title Librarian & Information Literacy Specialist. I was busy.
I’ve seen IL show up in many places and in many ways over the years since then. With Bucks County Community College since 2001, I’ve seen many players involved in ensuring IL was made part and parcel to everything we do: it is in our core competencies, it is in library instruction, we even have an Information Literacy Librarian who runs an Information Literacy Institute for faculty.
But a Presidential Proclamation? Now that is just hands down totally awesome! On October 1, 2009, President Barack Obama declared October 2009 to be National Information Literacy Awareness Month. More than just job security, acknowledgment, a pat on the back, this declaration brings to the forefront something so integral and necessary to making sense of this information age… and finally may end those casual comments from well meaning persons who, upon learning my vocation, say something along the lines of ‘you must read a lot.’ Uh. Yeah.
This is a happy month for librarians and anyone involved in the world of information literacy.