Friday, March 6, 2015

Information Literacy and Social Justice Activism

Consciousness-raising articles:

Beilin, Ian. "Beyond the Threshold: Conformity, Resistance, and the ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education." In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Feb. 25, 2015.

Wow, this is for the social activist! Similarly, this:
Beatty, Joshua. "Locating Information Literacy within Institutional Oppression." In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Sep. 24, 2014.

Joshua Beatty writes that the threshold concept framework bolsters prevailing power structures, especially when using capitalist metaphors such as "information marketplace" or "information ecosystem" and "authority" or "credentials" as judgments for "good" or "scholarly" resources. I think back to these 2 articles, which offer a more holistic view:
The framework does mandate, “understand that authority is the degree of trust that is bestowed and as such, authority is both contextual and constructed” and “understand that the quality and usefulness of a given piece of information is determined by the processes that went into making it.” For me, these come close to seeking to understand and remedy underlying issues that contribute to inequity and violence. Expertise cannot be limited to people with "higher" education degrees.

Interestingly enough, patron-driven acquisitions helps balance the disparity between librarians-as-experts choosing the "best" materials and students choosing their own materials. And I look to scientists as the best proponents of open access against the capitalist-driven publishing industry. However, I recognize that as an academic myself, I am both part of an inequality-creating/maintaining institution, and as a Quaker, am resistant. Paradox, anyone?

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