October 7th, 2011 by John Carey
October has been designated National Information Literacy Awareness Month. What is information literacy? It’s what’s happening every time a Hunter librarian or other instructor helps you navigate the resources at our libraries to conduct research on a topic and evaluate and appropriately use the sources that you find. Moreover, information literacy is a skill that can and should carry over into life outside the classroom. According to the National Forum on Information Literacy, people who are “information literate” are able to “find, access, and critically evaluate information to improve their health, their environment, their education and workplace performance.” (1)
But don’t take it from me—President Barack Obama issued an official Proclamation in 2009 establishing October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month. Recognizing that “every day, we are inundated with vast amounts of information,” President Obama stressed that Americans must “be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age.” The president also noted that “Americans have unprecedented access to . . . institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction” and that “an informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society.” (2) A solid grounding in information literacy helps learners become lifelong critical thinkers and engaged participants in civil society.
The Hunter libraries have prepared an online guide to this topic. Please visit our “Information Literacy Commons” to familiarize yourself with issues related to framing research questions, accessing and evaluating sources, and using information responsibly—not just during October, but all year round.
(1) National Forum on Information Literacy (2011). National information literacy awareness month. Available at http://infolit.org/nfil-news/national-information-literacy-awareness-month/
(2) White House Office of the Press Secretary (October 1, 2009). Presidential proclamation, national information literacy awareness month. Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/presidential-proclamation-national-information-literacy-awareness-month/