29 Mar 2012

IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations

IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, published a new set of guidelines this morning: IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations had been drawn up in co-operation with UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) and were endorsed by the governing body last year.

So what is this all about?

According to the document, Information and Media Literacy has been recognised as a basic human right. Not only do these skills make a difference in an educational setting, but they are also part of lifelong learning for all. They enable marginalised groups to increase their own employability, help all citizens make informed choices and contribute to the well-being of an individual.

Interestingly, IFLA includes all type of information resources - not only print and digital, but also oral information, which is often being neglected in discussions about Information Literacy.

Exciting from a librarian's perspective is the emphasis on continuing professional development for information professionals. IFLA called on governments and organisations to:

  • Support professional development for education, library, information, archive, and health and human services personnel in the principles and practices of Media and Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning

  • Include Media and Information Literacy in the core and continuing education of information professionals, educators, economic and government policymakers and administrators, as well as in the practice of advisors to the business, industry and agriculture sectors

So information professionals are being recognised as both trainers and trainees when it comes to Media and Information Literacy. It will take time to filter down to a national and local level, of course, but this document should give those of us active in the profession a renewed mandate to lobby for resources on behalf of our colleagues and our patrons. Librarians need time and space to develop their own skills in order to support users. This involves getting funding to attend courses and also time to reflect on work practices. Students in Library Schools should have access to Media and Information Literacy modules as part of their degree.


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