A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Two ideas seem to be at the core of Critical Information Literacy. One is the denotation of the word Literacy so that it encompasses the technological, pedagogical, and socio-cultural concerns of modern U.S. society.

Theorists and academics might want to fight over the semiotics of the word Literacy to justify their degrees and credentials, but the definition of the word procures provenance for the practicum of it's province. In other words, we can't tackle the problem of literacy without first knowing exactly what is meant when we use the word Literacy. When we say "text" do we also mean image, sounds/songs, art, mixed media, and video games. Only by pulverizing the connotations of this word might we reach the premeditated realization of exactly what core precepts/tenets/paradigms are being taught when we say we are teaching Literacy.

The first idea is simple because you could take several approaches and quibble over the paths; however, the second idea is much more difficult to elucidate because it might imply an ethnocentrism or partisanship on the part of the educators that is misguided, cruel, and in connotative variance with stated intents or purposes. In other words, to what point are teachers, librarians, and educators educating people in the behaviors of Literacy? More importantly, to what point are our institutions only serving to support and not supplant the status quo? Why is it so imperative for a democratic society to conscript the help of an educated, skeptical demos instead of a sleepwalker populace?

Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice by James Elmborg in the Journal of Academic Librarianship (Feb 2006) is an excellent article that higlights the finer points of this interesting subsection of Adult Information Literacy. Elmborg makes many fine points but his main point is that librarians must "focus less on information transfer and more on developing critical consciousness in students;" more importantly, "The primary challenge to address these changes lies in the vision librarians and Library and Information Science (LIS) educators have of themselves and of the profession" (2006, pg. 192). The funny thing to me is that many of the instructors at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. are aware of this literature and research and the systemic changes that must be affected to bring the image, mission, and modus operandi of librarians out of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

No comments: