Friday, May 10, 2013

Report of the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy’s Digital Literacy Task Force

by American Library Association

A compelling report about the need for libraries in the quest for minimizing the digital divide.  The article discusses the necessity of digital literacy in today’s world, from its role in education to obtaining a job.  Digital literacy requires reading, writing, cognitive, and technical skills, all of which can be enhanced by using library resources. 
Libraries are uniquely positioned in the community to teach digital literacy skills; people of all ages, incomes, language backgrounds, etc... are allowed access to libraries. Libraries support literacy of all kinds, are central in the community, provide access to technology and are information hubs. 
It is in Libraries’ interest to be vocal about their role in the digital landscape since it is an important issue that shareholders/government/communities care about; It shows libraries are needed in all types of communities.
There are many challenges faced by libraries in relation to digital literacy.  Often, the libraries’ role in digital literacy is not known or valued by its patrons.  Libraries are facing hard economic times and so have difficulty finding resources to support digital literacy.  A library needs to ensure that current and future librarians are trained to be able to pass on knowledge about digital technology and to create appropriate programming. 

1 comment:

  1. I thought the comment below (page 4) to true but did not go far enough to reflect the real issue. Yes, government officials are making more information, tools, and activities available online but they are doing that as a cost cutting measure. Less documentation is available in print forms, fewer people are available to help in person or even via phone and many activities now MUST be done online. Our local library has many people coming in because the courthouse staff tell them the library will help them file for divorce, that they can get driver's manuals at the library, that they can file for unemployment at the library, and now with Obamacare library staff can help them pick out their insurance coverage. All of these because those offices no longer accept print forms, no longer print study manuals, and no longer have the staff to do what they used to do.

    "Moreover, government offices at all levels are increasingly providing opportunities for the public to communicate and interact with government officials via the internet."

    Does anyone have any examples of how libraries can "strengthen this continuum in their communities, different types of libraries - school, academic, and public"? I think this and important step in continuing to provide services but only minimal cooperation has been attempted in many places, besides the King Library!