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Digital literacy is "the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies." The training and assistance that libraries are uniquely positioned to provide help build the skills that Americans need in the 21st century. This work will also cement your library's reputation as community anchor that strengthens the local network of learning. If your library is your communities' only free resource for the Internet, technology, and information, digital literacy means more than you may think.
Definitions of Digital Literacy
- "The ability to locate, evaluate and use digital information."
- "The ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills" (ALA).
- More definitions from Wikipedia.
- Pew Internet: Library Services in the Digital Age. In a new survey of Americans' attitudes and expectations for public libraries, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds that many library patrons are eager to see libraries' digital services expand, yet also feel that print books remain important in the digital age. Find here an excellent summary plus links to the complete report and the instrument and methodology.
- ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP)'s Digital Literacy, Libraries, and Public Policy provides an overview of the role of libraries in digital literacy and examines current relevant public policies, specifically digital inclusion, education and lifelong learning, and workforce development in public, school, and academic libraries.
- Policy paper from the Knight Commission: Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action, by Renee Hobbs (Temple). A detailed plan that positions digital and media literacy as an essential life skill and outlines steps that policymakers, educators, and community advocates can take to help Americans thrive in the digital age.
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services' (IMLS) 2009 Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills report outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and 21st century skills and includes case studies from across the country. There is also a Self-Assessment Tool included in the report that enables museums and libraries to determine where they fit on the continuum of 21st century skills operations and programming.
- Information Policy and Access Center's Digital Literacy and Public Libraries, a statistical survey of how public libraries are providing services for digital literacy.
ALA and Digital Literacy
Other Digital Literacy Resources for Librarians
- The EDGE benchmarks are designed to help libraries evaluate and continually improve their public technology services.
- Project Outcome offers free, pre-made surveys to assess a library's digital learning programs, such as Computer & Technology Usage Skills.
- DigitalLiteracy.gov is an online portal designed to help Americans find jobs and obtain the 21st century skills being sought by today's employers. It also serves as a hub for librarians, educators, and other digital literacy practitioners to share content and best practices.
- WebJunction's Digital Literacy Pathway
- The Edutopia portal for K-12 educators has a robust digital learning resource list
- Digital Literacy in New York - Funded through BTOP, this project is a partnership between the New York State Office of Cyber Security and the New York Library Association to "convene, support, coordinate and enhance programs that provide digital literacy training."
- Creating Data Literate Students, a guide to integrate the “reading” and “writing” of data into high school curriculum. These tips, rules of thumb, and guidelines offer the greatest impact in the limited time available.
Archived Webinars and Presentations
Free, Self-paced Courses
- DigitalLearn.org is PLA's hub for digital literacy, with two main sections: one for learners and the other for trainers. Offerings include self-directed, interactive trainings, which can be used independently by learners or can complement in-person classes. Sessions ranging from 6 to 15 minutes long include topics like Getting started on a computer, Using a PC, Using a Mac, Internet searching, Navigating a Website, and Intro to Email. A place to direct those who are new to computers and want to learn more. A separate community discussion board provides a virtual space for trainers to share resources and best practices, work collaboratively, seek input from others in the field, and ask questions.
- The Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum "will help you develop a fundamental understanding of computers. The courses help you learn the essential skills to begin computing with confidence, be more productive at home and at work, stay safe online, use technology to complement your lifestyle, and consider careers where you can put your skills to work."
- The Northstar Digital Literacy Project provides a set of online, self-guided modules on basic computer digital literacy standards. When individuals pass the assessments at approved sites, they can obtain the Northstar Digital Literacy Certificate.
- TechBoomers offers free online training especially for older adults and other inexperienced Internet users so they can "learn how to use popular and trusted websites and Internet-based applications." The site also has courses on internet safety and privacy.
- Goodwill Community Foundation International provides GCFLearnFree.org which provides quality online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy, and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life.
- DigitalLiteracy.gov is an online portal designed to help Americans find jobs and obtain the 21st century skills being sought by today's employers.
- EveryoneOn is a national outreach campaign focused on the importance of technology to develop digital skills and find new opportunities. EveryoneOn helps Americans access technology in three ways: digital literacy training, discounted high-speed Internet, and low-cost computers.
- For library staff members, the Colorado State Library developed online tech training for staff and a staff tech training curriculum.
- researchIT CT training for librarians
Don't forget to check the Connecticut State Library's Continuing Education Calendar for more learning opportunities.
Service Center Collections
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Reserve Discussion Sets and Equipment
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Digital Literacy - Items from Service Centers
Becoming a Media Mentor by In a time of rapidly changing technologies, the role of the youth services librarian has expanded to include the realm of digital media. Supporting children's literacy now means serving as a media mentor. This book empowers youth services staff to confidently assist families and caregivers as they navigate the digital world, guiding them towards digital media experiences that will translate into positive and productive lifelong learning skills, regardless of format. Melding the latest research and key messages from a variety of experts with replicable examples, this book defines what it means to be a media mentor, providing historical background and context; outlines three types of media mentorship: media advisory, programming, and access to curated media; outlines the implications of media mentorship in libraries, focusing on a shift from the notion of "screen time" to "healthy media decisions"; draws on detailed case studies from a wide variety of libraries and community partnerships to showcase inspiring media mentorship in action with ages 0-14; provides guidelines for working with diverse families and caregivers; and explores management issues around media mentorship, ALSC competencies, suggestions of additional resources, and professional development. Guiding children's librarians to define, solidify, and refine their roles as media mentors, this book in turn will help facilitate digital literacy for children and families.
Publication Date: 2016-08-01
Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World by "Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World" provides practical strategies and examples to effectively integrate Web 2.0 tools to support the inquiry process in the school library program and the classroom curriculum. Targeted for school librarians, this book addresses the questions: What is digital literacy? How is learning different in a digital world? And the most important questions, what are the best strategies, resources, and tools to support effective teaching and learning in a digital environment? The first two chapters of the book provide the important context for school librarians: research on student learning behaviors in a digital environment, Web 2.0 background and characteristics, and alignment with the new AASL Standards for the Twenty-first Century Learner and the Stripling Inquiry Process. Grades 4-12.
Publication Date: 2010-04-09
Digital Literacy and Digital Inclusion by Digital Literacy and Digital Inclusion: Information Policy and the Public Library examines the interrelationships between digital literacy, digital inclusion, and public policy, emphasizing the impacts of these policy decisions on the ability of individuals and communities to successfully participate in the information society. This book is the first detailed consideration of digital literacy and digital inclusion as policy problems and as core issues in information policy and libraries. The unique features of this book include .drawing together the key themes and findings from the discourse on digital literacy and digital inclusion widely spread among many fields; .analyzing digital literacy and digital inclusion as policy issues, both being driven and regulated by policy; .building on a wealth of original research conducted by the authors using different quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches on four different continents when analyzing these issues, providing unique examples, case studies, and perspectives; .using information behavior theory to provide important insights about these issues at individual, community, and political levels; .providing recommendations to inform practice in libraries and help libraries to frame their advocacy for public policies that support literacy and inclusion; and .providing policy recommendations to improve the creation and implementation of policy instruments that promote digital literacy and digital inclusion. The authors of this book have been involved in this research for many years, and their experience provides a broad view across the literature, inherent problems, and national perspectives. This breadth allows this book to offer comprehensive policy recommendations, solutions, and best practices for an area that is fragmented in discourse, practice, and policy."
Publication Date: 2014-08-20
Emerging Technologies by Here s a one-stop snapshot of emerging technologies every librarian should know about and examples that illustrate how the technologies are being used in libraries today The e-book includes videos of interviews with librarians that are using them. The videos are available on a web site for people who purchase the print book. The first four chapters Audio & Video, Self- and Micro-Publishing, Mobile Technology, and Crowdfunding all look at older technologies reinvented and reimagined through significant advances in quality, scale, or hardware. Many libraries were already using these technologies in some way, and are now able to change and adapt those uses to meet current needs and take advantage of the latest improvements. The two next chapters look at new technologies: wearable technologies and the Internet of Things (simple but powerful computers that can be embedded into everyday objects and connected to controllers or data aggregation tools). The last two chapters Privacy & Security and Keeping Up With Technology are all-purpose topics that will continue to be affected by new developments in technology. Each of these chapters offers a brief overview of background information and current events, followed by a list of advantages and challenges to using these technologies in a library setting. The authors highlight the most useful or most well-known tools and devices, then specify how these technologies might be used in a library setting. Finally, they look at a variety of current examples from libraries in the United States and around the globe."
Publication Date: 2015-05-06
Emerging Technologies for Librarians by Emerging Technologies for Librarians: A Practical Approach to Innovation focuses on the practical applications of emerging technologies in libraries, defining the technologies in the context of their use in real situations. Each chapter includes an overview of the use of emerging technologies in a particular work area that is followed by a list of relevant applications. Chapters cover work areas such as advertising, distance learning, metadata. and digital libraries, and also focus on applications, including mobile computing and web conferencing, followed by a conclusion. This book serves as a guide for those interested in learning about, and implementing, the available technologies that enhance library services, and also lists and discusses the types of emerging technologies that are available for a specific area of work. Discusses and reviews practical applications of emerging technologies for librarians Explores what emerging technologies are available in particular areas of library services Describes and evaluates applications Connects library work to innovations
Publication Date: 2015-12-03
The Information Behavior of a New Generation by Has the information behavior of children and youth changed significantly over the last two decades? The Information Behavior of a New Generation: Children and Teens in the 21st Century attempts to answer this question from a variety of viewpoints. Thirteen researchers from educational psychology, computer science, education, and information studies have contributed to eleven chapters on models of information behavior, the cognitive development of youth, information literacy, everyday information behavior, cyber-bullying, gaming in virtual environments, learning labs, social networks, intellectual disabilities, and current and future systems. Whether they are referred to as digital natives, the Google-generation, or generation M, today s youth are active consumers and avid producers of digital information. Smart phones are the new generation s communication tools, social networks are their interaction venues, and virtual environments are their new playgrounds. This new digital communication era has prompted researchers from a variety of disciplines to contribute to this book on the information behavior of children and teens. One of the many conclusions that may be drawn from the chapters in the book is that information behavior is a multifaceted phenomenon, evolving alongside the rapid developments in information and communication technologies. The new generation tends to multitask, managing many activities simultaneously, such as scanning for and skimming information, texting brief messages, and posting audio and visual information on social media. While children and teens are tech savvy, they lack certain information and media literacy skills essential in today s digital environment. For researchers, the authors pose questions for further investigation in the hope that innovative services will be offered and novel systems will be developed to help the new generation. For teachers and information professionals, the authors provide a broad background to assist them with a more in-depth and thorough understanding and appreciation of children s and teens information behavior."
Publication Date: 2012-11-02
Information Now by Every day researchers face an onslaught of irrelevant, inaccurate, and sometimes insidious information. While new technologies provide powerful tools for accessing knowledge, not all information is created equal. Valuable information may be tucked away on a shelf, buried on the hundredth page of search results, or hidden behind digital barriers. With so many obstacles to effective research, it is vital that higher education students master the art of inquiry. Information Now is an innovative approach to information literacy that will reinvent the way college students think about research. Instead of the typical textbook format, it uses illustrations, humor, and reflective exercises to teach students how to become savvy researchers. Students will learn how to evaluate information, to incorporate it into their existing knowledge base, to wield it effectively, and to understand the ethical issues surrounding its use. Written by two library professionals, it incorporates concepts and skills drawn from the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education and their Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Thoroughly researched and highly engaging, Information Now offers the tools that students need to become powerful consumers and creators of information. Whether used by a high school student tackling a big paper, an undergrad facing the newness of a university library, or a writer wanting to go beyond Google, Information Now is a powerful tool for any researcher's arsenal.
Publication Date: 2015-10-26
Tap, Click, Read by A guide to promoting literacy in the digital age. With young children gaining access to a dizzying array of games, videos, and other digital media, will they ever learn to read? The answer is yes if they are surrounded by adults who know how to help and if they are introduced to media designed to promote literacy, instead of undermining it. Tap, Click, Read gives educators and parents the tools and information they need to help children grow into strong, passionate readers who are skilled at using media and technology of all kinds print, digital, and everything in between. In Tap, Click, Read authors Lisa Guernsey and Michael H. Levine envision a future that is human-centered first and tech-assisted second. They document how educators and parents can lead a new path to a place they call ′Readialand′ a literacy-rich world that marries reading and digital media to bring knowledge, skills, and critical thinking to all of our children. This approach is driven by the urgent need for low-income children and parents to have access to the same 21st-century literacy opportunities already at the fingertips of today′s affluent families.With stories from homes, classrooms and cutting edge tech labs, plus accessible translation of new research and compelling videos, Guernsey and Levine help educators, parents, and America′s leaders tackle the questions that arise as digital media plays a larger and larger role in children′s lives, starting in their very first years of life. Tap, Click, Read includes an analysis of the exploding app marketplace and provides useful information on new review sites and valuable curation tools. It shows what to avoid and what to demand in today′s apps and e-books as well as what to seek in community preschools, elementary schools and libraries. Peppered with the latest research from fields as diverse as neuroscience and behavioral economics and richly documented examples of best practices from schools and early childhood programs around the country, Tap, Click, Read will show you how to: Promote the adult-child interactions that help kids grow into strong readers Learn how to use digital media to build a foundation for reading and success Discover new tools that open up avenues for creativity, critical thinking, and knowledge-building that today′s children need The book′s accompanying website, TapClickRead.org, keeps you updated on new research and provides vital resources to help parents, schools and community organizations.
Publication Date: 2015-09-21
Teaching Information Fluency by Teaching Information Fluency describes the skills and dispositions of information fluency adept searchers. Readers will receive in-depth information on what it takes to locate, evaluate, and ethically use digital information. The book realistically examines the abilities of Internet searchers today in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness in finding online information, evaluating it and using it ethically. Since the majority of people develop these skills on their own, rather than being taught, the strategies they invent may suffice for simple searches, but for more complex tasks, such as those required by academic and professional work, the average person s performance is adequate only about 50% of the time. The book is laid out in five parts: an introduction to the problem and how search engine improvements are not sufficient to be of real help, speculative searching, investigative searching, ethical use and applications of information fluency. The intent of the book is to provide readers ways to improve their performance as consumers of digital information and to help teachers devise useful ways to integrate information fluency instruction into their teaching, since deliberate instruction is needed to develop fluency. Since it is unlikely that dedicated class time will be available for such instruction, the approach taken embeds information fluency activities into classroom instruction in language arts, history and science. Numerous model lessons and resources are woven into the fabric of the text, including think-alouds, individual and group search challenges, discussions, assessments and curation, all targeted to Common Core State Standards as well as information fluency competencies."
Publication Date: 2013-11-14
The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know by While it's inspiring to ponder the libraries of the 22nd century, it's a lot more practical to think ahead to the next five years. That's just what Varnum and his hand-picked team of contributors have done, showing library technology staff and administrators where to invest time and money to receive the greatest benefits. Their ideas will stimulate strategic thinking and help library staff make informed decisions about meeting user expectations and delivering services. Chapters include * "Impetus to Innovat
Publication Date: 2014-06-01
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