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Literacies and Libraries: The Concepts that Bind Us

Literacies and Libraries: The Concepts that Bind Us

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  • 1. Literacies and Libraries: The concepts that bind us Ray Doiron, PhD [email_address] BC Libraries 20/20 October 22, 2007
  • 2. Traditional Literacy
    • an individual's ability to write her/his name
    • Movement for Canadian Literacy : "The ability to understand and use printed material found at home, at work and in the community - to achieve one's goals and develop one's knowledge and potential.”
    • The US Workforce Investment Act of 1998 defines literacy as
    • "an individual's ability to read, write, speak, compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job, in the family of the individual and in society.”
  • 3. Multiple Literacies
    • Various constituents define literacy for their discipline or political view.
    • Family literacy
    • Workplace literacy
    • The “new” Literacy
    • Information Literacy
  • 4. The “New” Literacies
    • The New Literacies …. becoming fully skilled in the new literacies of information and communication technology (ICT) such as word processors, web editors, presentation software & e-mail. However, this means using these ICT’s in new ways that involve participation, collaboration, distributed production and relationships (Lankshear & Knobel, 2007).
      • As ICT has increasingly shaped our society, the skills we need to function successfully have gone beyond reading;
      • literacy has come to include the skills and the mindset associated with the use of ICT. (the “technical stuff” and the “ethos stuff” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2007).
  • 5. Information Literacy
    • Information Literacy - consists of skills, strategies, and ways of thinking that are essential to success in a knowledge-based economy.
    • Information literacy is the ability to find and use information with critical discrimination in order to build knowledge.
    • An information literate person is a lifelong learner expert at using complex cognitive processes with diverse technological tools in order to solve problems in personal, social, economic, and political contexts. (National document- CSLA/ATLC)
  • 6. A Meta-literacy
    • Beyond traditional and context-based literacies – higher order framework for understanding it.
    • Learners must navigate in and out of multiple discourses in all aspects of life (Lankshear & Knobel, 207).
    • Howard Gardner (1990) “…regardless of the discipline, one must be able to read and write the symbolic forms present in one’s culture.”
    • Elliot Eisner (1991) “ … the ability to encode and decode meaning in any of the forms used in culture to represent meaning” Such as… print, visual signage and symbols or icons, oral traditions music, art, dance, natural rhythms (the tides, the seasons, the weather)
  • 7. Key Points from the Definitions
    • A Continuum of understanding – where do you sit?
    • All definitions assume some skills with reading and writing tasks.
    • Some define literacy as static or absolute
    • We are moving quickly to an understanding of literacy as dynamic, relative and contextual.
    • Critical thinking, creative problem-solving and knowledge-building more central to our literacy.
  • 8. Remember . . .
    • Any definition of literacy reflects
      • the values of the people defining it, and
      • the purposes they have in defining it.
  • 9. Libraries – Two Literacy Perspectives
    • “High” literacy
    • “New” literacy
  • 10. “High” Literacy View of Libraries
    • This is an ordered view.
    • Information is organized/ structured and placed into a framework that makes it retrievable and accessible.
    • Set of skills for access
    • Librarian controls the access.
    • User waits for retrieval, returns, ILL
    • Authority and credibility given to items in the collection.
    • Read, make notes, cite sources.
  • 11. “New” Literacy View of Libraries
    • WWW – not organized in prescribed way.
    • I control the access.
    • We cut and paste, download, print, burn, bookmark
    • We build our own ‘desktop-library’ of frequently used resources.
    • No waiting – if not available, forget it.
    • Learners – construct their own learning environment, find the resources that work for them and create new knowledge.
  • 12. Trends in the Change
    • From “we-they” to “we-me”.
    • Control of access has changed.
    • What is knowledge?
    • Connected view of libraries.
    • Access and retrieval/ sifting and sorting
    • Authority of the text/ critique of the text
    • Library skills / information literacy
  • 13. Libraries and Literacy Tomorrow
    • Libraries as “community access points” both in school and in our communities.
    • Integrate even more critical literacy.
    • Life-long libraries for life-long, life-wide learning.
    • Develop collaborative community partnerships.
    • Build collaborative teaching connections to classrooms and student learning.
  • 14. The Change in Libraries
    • What is the result as these multiple views of literacy interact with traditional and emerging roles of libraries?
    • We find ourselves helping children develop literacy in two areas:
      • ‘real world’ contexts
      • Personal contexts
  • 15. Contexts for Literacies
    • Real-World Contexts
      • Learning How to Learn
      • Critical Literacy
      • Inquiry
    • Personal Contexts
      • Reading Motivation & Promotion
      • Accessing Resources
      • Diversity, Equity & Freedom
      • Student Involvement