Information Literacy beyond the academy: recent perspectives from the UK

  • 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 4 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:

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Author:Jane Secker
Document Type:Konferenzveröffentlichung (Vortragsfolien)
Date of Publication (online):2015/06/10
Year of Completion:2015
Publishing Institution:Berufsverband Information Bibliothek
Release Date:2015/10/12
Themes:Vermittlung von Informationskompetenz, Teaching Libraries, E-Tutorials
Österreichische Bibliothekartage:32. Österreichischer Bibliothekartag in Wien 2015
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell