Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://newprofessionalsnetwork.wordpress.com/
Knowledge is power
The capacity for individuals to change their circumstances can only really take place through the empowerment that comes from being informed and knowing how to access that knowledge. Change begins with information.
Last semester, as part of Information retrieval, we had to write a literature review. Mine was on migrants’ and refugees’ information literacy. The two sentences above were the final lines of my reflection for the assignment. This was one of the most important things I internalized through doing that task. I have always greatly valued education and knowledge. But up until that point I think that had been an almost intuitive assumption. After reading many articles in order to write about the topic, it became a cognitive understanding: Education, knowledge, know-how, skill and all the other different guises information goes by, all begin with a person being able to access the necessary information.
We live in a time where to be a fully participating member of society means to be information literate and to have a basic degree of digital literacy. We are quickly reaching a moment where literacy alone is not enough. Literacy is a basic beginning. It seems as if there are few areas in society, if any at all, that are left unaffected by someone’s capacity to access that service, contact that person, take part in that forum, and have their voices heard. For those unable to do so, they are at great risk of becoming isolated.
I think that libraries undoubtedly have a massive role to play in this arena. As this week’s readings indicate, this was something that was identified by UNESCO and IFLA in the early 2000’s. Public libraries are traditionally, socially and culturally recognized as agencies that promote information access and use. Offering courses and workshops on information and digital literacy is part of the basic services libraries maintain and should be available to anyone. Along with them I also think Schools should specifically teach information literacy, as the assumption that every young person is a ‘digital native’ is being proven to be a myth.
A debate has been taking place for years about how much technological knowledge librarians should have and teach. Libraries are about people, first and foremost. And librarians are not computer scientists (I don’t think they should try to be, either) but it’s impossible to dismiss the fact that librarianship is in a paradigm shift when it comes to this issue. Out of necessity and ingenuity librarians have proven to be a resourceful lot and I think that by and large the industry is adapting, as ever, to the needs of patrons and societal expectations in regards to this topic. When looking at the level of trepidation many librarians had by the upcoming ‘digital revolution’ twenty years ago and comparing it to where we are today, I think any observer would surmise the industry has acquitted itself well. Perhaps now we can start a conversation about the new direction libraries should go- new librarianship, anyone?