National Information Literacy Awareness Month

National Information Literacy Month 2011 BadgeIt’s October, which means we are going to be celebrating National Information Literacy Awareness Month.

What’s this all about?  Well, when people think of libraries, they probably think of a building full of books.

Ha ha ha.  Very funny.

Ok, we do have that.  But 21st century libraries are about so much more that that, and 21st century librarians are about so much more than that, too.

When President Obama made the initial proclamation about National Information Literacy Awareness Month in 2009, he said: “Every day, we are inundated with vast amounts of information.  A 24-hour news cycle and thousands of global television and radio networks, coupled with an immense array of online resources, have challenged our long-held perceptions of information management. Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decision making. National Information Literacy Awareness Month highlights the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age.”

This is what librarians do; we show people how to acquire, collate, and evaluate information.  Our focus here at McKillop Library is on applying these skills to academic research, but you can then apply these skills to all sorts of research in your life.

We might not think of it this way, but every time we look up information about a medical condition, or look for information on products before making a major purchase, or even use our smartphones to figure out where to go for dinner, we are acquiring, collating, and evaluating information.  Sure, we all know how to do this on some level.

We librarians are here to show you how to do it more efficiently.  Why spend three hours finding the right article when we can get you there in ten minutes?  Why try twelve different keyword searches in the wrong database when we can show you the right keywords to use in the best database for your topic?

For the month of October, we invite you to be aware of information literacy skills and think about how we incorporate them into our research, our classes, and our daily lives.

I’m kicking off this month’s celebration with a series of blog posts on an old-school topic: searching the catalog like a pro.  Everybody thinks they’ve got this under control – you’ve found stuff in the catalog, right?  So you obviously know what you’re doing.

Sure, sure.  but let me show you the hardcore cataloging-search-ninja tricks that I’ve got up my sleeve.  Stay tuned.

(PS – Maybe you need some help with Digital Literacy too?  Like how to use devices, software, common websites, and other stuff like that?  The government runs DigitalLiteracy.gov, which links to all sorts of free online training opportunities.  Check it out.)

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