The Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) advisory committee authorized a Digital Literacy Task Force during the 2011 Midwinter meeting. To that end, OITP staff has been working with its advisory committee, AASL, PLA, ACRL, LITA, OLOS’ Committee on Literacy, and the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as well as Chapters, to put together a stellar (pdf) that will look across all types of library settings to identify common concerns and develop a shared vision for improving services and positioning libraries in this evolving role.
The Task Force Charge (pdf) emphasizes the general recognition among librarians and non-librarians alike that literacy skills now encompass the need to be fluent with a variety of technologies and applications – including being able to locate and use online resources:
“Federal, state, and local government agencies; community-based organizations; educational institutions; public policy organizations; and foundations recognize that our society is at a critical juncture with regard to the changing information landscape and competencies needed to thrive in the digital environment. How we, as an organization and a nation, respond to the challenges will have a lasting impact on education, economic development, civic engagement, and global competitiveness.
Our nation’s school, public and higher education libraries are an essential part of the solution.” (from the Charge)
The Task Force will begin its work with an environmental scan to develop a comprehensive understanding of what types of activities already are in place related to digital literacy, where there might be gaps, and how to prepare the association for the changing landscape of digital literacy. Given that technologies change rapidly, we know that what we are considering today may not be as relevant in the near future and we want to make sure that we are ready to tackle the next “version” of information literacy.
Beyond ALA, the Task Force seeks to elevate the profile of libraries on a state and national level so that libraries are firmly associated with digital literacy and included in initiatives that support a digitally literate population.
Immediate work for the Task Force includes setting up an ALA Connect space and wikispace for collaboration and communication, and finalizing a program for the ALA Annual Conference. Task Force members are in the process of fine-tuning the specific activities and planned outcomes they will undertake.