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Critical Information Literacy: The Challenge of Practice

The 2011 LACUNY Instruction Committee Spring Event took place on April 22 at the CUNY Graduate Center. The invited speaker was James Elmborg, Associate Professor and Program Director of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. His presentation, “Critical Information Literacy: The Challenge of Practice,” was recorded and can be heard on the committee’s site.     

Critical information literacy applies methodologies from literacy theory to examine and question accepted definitions and notions about information literacy. It is a process of critical examination and questioning rather than a program or set of standards that can be applied. Professor Elmborg created the technique described in his presentation by defining critical information literacy through an examination of its constituent parts and then defining each term as a way to get to the meaning of the phrase. He then applied the same critical examination to the concept of information literacy and the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

His formal presentation concluded with suggestions on how librarians can adopt critical information literacy into their practice. After an open Q&A session with Professor Elmborg,  the audience formed groups to discuss his presentation.

By Amy Ballmer (Graduate Center)

(This post originally appeared in LACUNY News and is re-posted here with permission of Graduate Center librarians Amy Ballmer and Michael Adams).

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