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Teaching Library / Informationskompetenz II Moderation: Karin Lach (Universitätsbibliothek Wien, Österreich) Information literacy beyond the academy: recent perspectives from the UK Vortragende/r : Secker, Jane (London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom) Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at London School of Economics , Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group, former editor of the Journal of Information Literacy and co-founder of the Librarians¹ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC).
This paper provides an overview of recent information literacy initiatives in the UK from the Chair of the UK Information Literacy Group (ILG). In the UK in the higher education sector there is an enthusiastic and highly skilled group of librarians helping to develop information literate graduates in almost all universities. However, outside this sector, information literacy in schools, public libraries and in the workplace is less well recognised.
The UK government has increasingly been focusing on the importance of ‘digital skills’ or ‘digital literacy’ for the wider population as a whole, linking it to economic prosperity. Several recent government reports have failed to define digital literacy, equating it with computer literacy, and worse, not recognising the valuable work that information professionals are doing in the information literacy field. This paper will provide an overview of the work the ILG are doing to try to ensure that information literacy expertise is more widely recognized. Reaching out beyond both higher education and the library profession is become increasingly important, so the paper discusses three recent research projects funded through the ILG bursary scheme launched in April 2014. These projects have focused on ‘digital literacy’ and the role of public libraries, information literacy in the workplace, and information literacy as part of citizenship and young people’s political awareness.
Closer to home, at LSE, Jane leads a project with undergraduate students to develop a greater understanding of their digital and information literacy needs. The Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project has now completed its second year and this paper will report on the evaluation and impact study that was undertaken in June 2015. It provides some lessons learnt about how similar projects can best support students, the aspects of digital literacy that were most valuable to students and the way in which students can act as peer mentors. It also provides information about the benefits of SADL to staff at LSE, and the specific challenges that this project experienced.
SADL began in October 2013. The focus of the project was four interactive workshops run across the academic year. Workshops were designed to teach students aspects of digital literacy, but also to be an opportunity to learn from the students about their current practices and to share ideas. In the second year the project was extended to Four academic departments and the number of student ambassadors grew from 20 to 40. Scaling up the project had a number of implications in terms of the resources required. The project team also introduced several new activities during the second year including: creating Senior Ambassadors, who were students from year one of the programme who acted as mentors for the current cohort and helped to run workshops for the new group. Student also undertook group projects, supervised by a senior ambassador to prepare a presentation for the final SADL celebration event.
Finally this paper will reflect on the use of terminology and on the value of information literacy frameworks and standards. It will explore the role these can all play in ensuring those outside the library profession (with a lesser understanding of what information literacy is) fully understand its importance, both in an academic context, but also in the workplace and in society. References : SADL Project home page (2015) London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Available at: http: //blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl
Member benefits Fund and sponsor other groups event on IL Run our own events Sponsor individuals to attend events (forms on website)
Mention House of Lords Report on Digital Skills
Mention UK Digital Skills Task Force – neither recognised the potential role for librarians so ILG becoming increasingly political and responding to these reports
But also IL for those outside the HE sector: digital inclusion agenda in public libraries, health sector
Lots of work in schools working with students in Year 12 (age 16-17) on Extended Project Qualification (EPQs) – Geoff Walton, Alison Pickard and Mark Hepworth funded on a British Academic project. Active Skepticism and to encourage students to be more discerning about information.
Terminology I will discuss at the end but problems getting wide recognition across universities (more difficult in research led)
We see IL as something that everyone should be equipped with though – not just graduates, but those who don’t go to university – the unemployed, older people, apprentices etc
Giving £6,000 to fund a pioneering scheme bringing together public and commercial organisations, local charities and community groups to create a digital support network for residents and businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne. As more services become predominantly or exclusively online, those without the means or information literacy skills to access the internet are at increasing risk of isolation. Newcastle – like many cities in the UK –has a vibrant third sector, active community groups and a wealth of education providers offering free or low cost internet access and training. Yet those who need this most either aren’t aware of the benefits (and increasing necessity) of being online, don’t know that help is available, aren’t comfortable in the environments where assistance is offered, or are unwilling to ask for help.
All council start are front line – can you turn the highway maintenance staff into digital champions – well outside the HE and education sector
Determining the value of information literacy for employers
So the tool is being made available to businesses and other users, to help them reflect on the relationship between investments in information related-factors and a range of indicators of business value. Through its mapping, the tool gives an idea of organisational areas where information literacy investments might provide returns. The tool is reflects the findings of three case studies examined during the course of the project. Interviews were conducted with relevant managers from one enterprise in each of the commercial sector (an SME that develops a human resources information system), the public sector (a London local authority) and the voluntary sector (an organisation that acts as facilitator for voluntary organisations).
Project lead Stephane Goldstein says the project aims to “to find out what information literacy is worth to employers and how it adds real value to businesses”. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the benefits of developing information literacy in the workplace and assess the return on investment (ROI) of such initiatives.
The research will investigate the value that is added by employing and training individuals that have appropriate and relevant know-how, competencies and skills in the use and handling of information and data in the digital economy, whatever form that takes. The value might be financial, but it might also relate to other factors that are important to enterprises, such as enhanced efficiency or competitive advantage.
Learning, lending, liberty? Can school libraries be engines for youth citizenship?
The first research project, “Learning, lending, liberty? Can school libraries be engines for youth citizenship?”, will explore the role of school libraries in the wider school environment, including citizenship education.
The project will identify how Scottish school libraries support young people’s political participation in two major political events – the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 and the UK General Election 2015. The project will also explore the information and information literacy (IL) needs of young people outside the school environment, and identify how IL provision is vital in helping them become informed and meaningful participants in politics. Principle Investigator Lauren Smith (the University of Strathclyde) will work in partnership with Young Scot, a young people’s information charity; the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC); The Right Information, Scotland’s information literacy community of practice; and CILIPS.
Originally funded by the HEA as part of their Changing Learning Landscapes programme from Oct 2013 to July 2014.
2012 audit found UG student support for Information/digital literacy was patchy Staff assumed aspects of IL were covered by others or students would already know it – this is very dangerous given the diverse student population at LSE. Some students may be tech savvy – some are not – students may use Facebook, students are not experts in their discipline and scholarly practices
Approach to transition was often sink or swim and help offered as remedial or targeted at specific groups such as students who’s first language is not English (this is probably half of them!)
High achieving students also struggle
Bit fish in a small pond – the brightest kid in school until they get to LSE! Where the pond is full of big fish!
Empowered e.g. presenting at conferences with staff, developing new skills
All participated in project in 2013/14 and keen to take part, paid for their time.
The students themselves recognised the need for departmental support and gave lots of suggestions as to how student ambassadors could gain more visibility, recognition and profile at the school particularly through the involvement in school wide events.
Launching next week at LSE and places are going to be limited to turn it into peer support so its not about running sessions for all students – it’s students helping students more sustainable
Terminology really matters
Found this is all sorts of projects – sometimes the term Information Literacy is the biggest problem! And perceptions about what people think librarians do.
Information literacy beyond the academy : recent perspectives from the UK
Information literacy beyond the
academy: recent perspectives from
Dr Jane Secker
London School of Economics and
Teaching Library / Informationskompetenz II
Vienna: 15-18 September 2015
Overview and introduction
• About Jane Secker and LSE
• About the UK CILIP Information
• Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy
(SADL) project at LSE
The CILIP Information Literacy Group
• Special Interest Group of Chartered
Institute of Library and Information
Professionals set up in 2003
• Founded LILAC in 2004
• Run the the open access, peer-
reviewed Journal of Information
• Run informationliteracy.org.uk
• Fund training events, sponsorship and
offer research bursaries for members
• Community of over 1000 members,
3300 followers on Twitter
• Share good practice in
information literacy teaching and
• Provide a network and a voice
for information literacy work in
the library profession
• Undertake research and
• Work across the library
• Reach out beyond the
Information literacy in the UK
• Despite increasing recognition of the value of
digital literacy & skills in UK government,
information literacy work often not recognised
outside Higher Education (HE) sector
• Attempts to address this through the research
bursaries scheme: focusing outside HE
• Developing links with: schools, workplaces, trade
unions, other professional groups and
• Advertising for an Advocacy and Outreach Officer
IL in the HE Sector
• IL highly developed and widely
recognised in university libraries
• Increasing focus on
– Finding, evaluating and managing
– transition from school and
graduates going into the workplace
– digital and using social media tools
• Expertise on supporting research
students and students undertaking
• Many attempts to embed in
• To get IL outside the HE community
• To break down the digital divide
• To connect with other interested stakeholders
who may have traditional views of what
librarians do and information literacy
Shattered iPhone by Jennifer Morrow licensed under
Creative Commons: https://flic.kr/p/7Cquzt
• First project funded by ILG based in Newcastle
• Support for residents to go online
• Establish a network of digital champions
• Training for front line Newcastle council staff
Current ILG research projects
• DeVIL Project( Determining the value of
information literacy for employers)
• How does Information Literacy add real value to
• Developing a tool to determine how information
competences underpin the performance and
effectiveness of enterprises
• Research led by Stephane Goldstein and Drew
Call Centre by Vitor Lima licensed under Creative Commons:
Current research projects in 2015
• Learning, lending, liberty? Can school libraries
be engines for youth citizenship?
• The role of public libraries in citizenship
education and political participation
• Led by Lauren Smith
Europejski Tydzień Młodzieży Katowice 2011 / European Youth Week
Katowice 2011 by Kris Duda licensed under Creative Commons:
• A initiative in UK schools for 13-16 year olds to
foster an interest in science, technology and
• Run TeenTech events around the UK
• Sponsors include: Google, Airbus,
nationalgrid, Network Rail, Maplin and ILG
• Prestigious awards ceremony at Royal Society
• From 2015 all projects judged on their
Research and Information Literacy skills
Student Ambassadors at LSE
“By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for
living, learning and working in a digital society: for example, the skills to
use digital tools to undertake academic research, writing and critical
thinking; as part of personal development planning; and as a way of
SADL Project aims
• To understand
• To explore how best
to support students
to improve their DIL
skills and provide
• Students can be empowered
• Sharing experiences beyond
• Working with other students
(not just Students’ Union)
• A more ‘real’ student voice
• Your champions!
• Student partnership toolkit
• Tensions: freedom vs
support, guidance and
SADL Senior Ambassadors
• Worked alongside staff
• Gave feedback on
• Guided and worked with
students in workshops
• Gave feedback on
• Led student projects
“For partnership to be embedded and
sustained beyond documents, projects
and initiatives, it needs to become part of
the culture and ethos of the institution”
HEA framework for partnership in learning and teaching in higher education (2014)
Why digital and information literacy?
• Terminology matters
• It’s about identities
• It can prevent
links being made
• But it can start a
purpose & values
Jisc (2015) Digital Capabilities
Secker and Coonan (2013) A New Curriculum
for Information Literacy
SCONUL 7 Pillars of Information Literacy
“Information literacy empowers people in all
walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create
information effectively to achieve their
personal, social, occupational and educational
goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world
and promotes social inclusion in all nations.”
UNESCO Alexandria Proclamation 2005
Thank you and goodnight Vienna!
Vienna: Heldenplatz by Duroy.George licensed under Creative
References and further reading
• Bell, Maria and Moon, Darren and Secker, Jane (2012) Undergraduate support at LSE: the ANCIL report. The London School
of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/48058/
• Hepworth, M and Walton, G. (2009) Teaching Information Literacy for Inquiry-based learning. Chandos Publishing: Oxford.
• House of Lords: Select Committee on Digital Skills. (February 2015). Make or break: the UK’s Digital Future. London: HMSO.
published/ Retrieved 12 March 2015
• Lau, Doriane, Secker, Jane and Bell, Maria (2015) Student ambassadors for digital literacy (SADL): evaluation & impact
report. Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI), London, UK. Available at: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/63357/
• LSE SADL Project website and resources (2014) Available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/
• Secker, J. & Walton, G. (2016). Information Literacy in the UK. In Sühl-Strohmenger, W (ed). Handbuch
Informationskompetenz. Berlin: Walther De Gruyter.
• Secker, Jane and Coonan, Emma (2013) Rethinking Information Literacy: a practical framework for supporting learning. Facet
• UK Digital Task Force (2014). Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World. Interim Report.
http://policy.bcs.org/sites/policy.bcs.org/files/Interim%20report.pdf Retrieved 12 March 2015.