Library Literacy vs. Information Literacy

I came across an interesting concept in a blog posting last summer regarding the concept of Library Literacy versus Information Literacy.  What it made me realize is that learning about the services of the library needs to be separate from learning about information searching and evaluation skills.  At work, we used have all this information about the library, the floors, etc. crammed into our instruction sessions.  I think an important step in getting to the basics of information literacy is to see if anything you are talking about is library literacy.  A good place to start is a definition of library literacy:  the ability to use a library’s collection and its services (Humes, 1999)

So, if you’re looking for information to cut in a session, to really pare it down, ask yourself, is this part of Information Literacy or Library Literacy?  Do students need this information to locate the information?  Libraries have all kinds of services.  Computers, photocopying, etc.  What’s the intent of your session? Is that information relevant?  You might want to consider having two separate classes.  A library literacy class, where students learn locations of service desks, etc. and an information literacy class where students learn to search for, locate and effectively use information.  Just some planning thoughts.
Humes, B. (1999). Understanding Information Literacy. Office of Educational Research
National Institute on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning


About Pamela J. Morgan

Librarian at Vanderbilt University Libraries
This entry was posted in Information Literacy, Library Instruction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Library Literacy vs. Information Literacy

  1. cmealer says:

    I love your posts! They are so incredibly relevant to my work life. I wonder if the library literacy/information literacy dichotomy could also be reflected on the library’s website. Most libraries have an “about us” page that combines history, services, hours of operation, available databases, etc. etc. Would it make more sense to split this information? “About the Library” and “About the Resources” or something like that? The first page would be maps, hours of operation, staff contact info, etc. The second would be tutorials on how to search the catalog, how to search a database, etc. What are your thoughts?

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