Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
P19: IL and Active Citizenship
Wednesday, 26/Sep/2018:
10:30am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Andrew Whitworth
Location: Merikoski
Session Topics:
Information literacy and active citizenship

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Multi-literacies and Social Sustainability

Egbert John Sanchez Vanderkast

National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

In order to succeed, sustainable development must be seen as an integrative matter. In this particular point of view, social sustainability can be seen as “a life enchancing condition within communities and as a process within communities that can achieving that condition” (Chowdhury, 2014; p.19). Some characteristics of social sustainability are those that reli on thekind of users we have at our infomation centre, the quality of service we provideat the information centre, the kind of information system, and the specific content they manage. All the above mentioned will help to build a community where civic or any kind of literacy should be taught to empower the community and to motivate its members to reach some kind of civic literacy which, according to Milner, should be understood as “the ability manifesting itself in the form of political knowledge and the willingness in the form of political participation” (Milner; 2002).

In this sense, Koltay, Spiranic and Karvalics (2016, p.63) provide the following definition of information literacy as “the adoption of appropiate information behavior to obtain, through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs, together with critical awareness of importance of wise and ethical use of information in society”. In a community we should look for those elements that: connect with information; interact with information; and also make use of information. On one hand we have those dynamics of information literacy and, on the other hand, we have those elements of social sustainability.

The aim of this paper is to identify those variables of social sustainability, like access to resources, education, gender equity, health, leadership, and quality of life that will drive us to understand and link with civic literacy. The result will direct us to proposals of policy choices to promote civic literacy.


Chowdhury, G. (2014). Sustainability of scholarly information. London: Facet.

Koltay, T., Špiranec, S., & Karvalics, L. Z. (2016). Research 2.0 and the Future of Information Literacy. Amsterdam: Chandos.

Milner, H. (2002). Civic literacy. Hanover: University Press of New England.

Unique or Ubiquitous? Information Literacy Instruction Outside Higher Education

Miriam Matteson1, Beate Gersch2

1Kent State University, Columbus, OH, USA; 2The University of Akron, OH, USA

Information literacy (IL) is the ability to recognize the need for information, to effectively find information to meet that need, and to use information for some purpose or goal. Historically, information literacy was important for well-informed, civic discourse, as well as for preparing people to be productive workers (O’Connor, 2009). More recently, critical perspectives have emerged that view IL as a way for learners to understand systems of power around information and develop a critical consciousness of learning (Elmborg, 2006).

Both academic and public libraries in essence believe that understanding and using information critically and effectively bring gains to an individual and to society. However, they diverge in how and why they engage in IL instruction, partly due to differences in mission and user base. The purpose of the academic library, to support the mission of the university, is more formally linked to instruction than that of a public library, even though many public libraries describe themselves and their purpose with education-based language such as being the people’s university, or supporting lifelong learning. The value libraries place on their educational role, as well as their understanding of patrons’ motivation and purpose, will direct why and how they facilitate IL instruction. Academic libraries operate under formal structures evidenced by „instruction librarian“ job titles, formal courses, modules, and teaching materials, and shared definitions and frameworks for operationalizing information literacy. In contrast, public library IL instruction may be less structured with greater freedom and creativity. Both types of libraries fulfill important functions in fostering an engaged citizenry, and many patrons experience both of these environments at different times, or even simultaneously, in their lives.

Our study explores how public libraries address IL and to what degree these programs align with, enhance, or prepare patrons for the goals of academic IL instruction. Our guiding questions are: 1) how does public library programming incorporate ideas of information literacy and 2) how do notions of empowerment and advocacy connect to IL in a public library. To that end, we will conduct a content analysis of programming published on public libraries’ websites. We will also analyze a sample of reflective work diaries provided by public librarians who offer programs and/or instruction at their libraries. Through these methods we hope to identify the unique needs in public library IL instruction in contrast to academic libraries. For example, gap-based models of information literacy that focus on patron deficiencies are problematic. Public libraries may benefit from invoking a theory and praxis of information literacy that is user-centered and oriented around individuals’ ways of knowing and lived experiences using information as opposed to imparting a fixed set of IL skills (Todd, 2017). Not being bound by formalized IL structures may be an opportunity for public libraries to approach IL in new, creative ways (Chan, 2009; Partridge, Bruce, & Tilley, 2008). Finally, we will explore how to effectively prepare librarians for IL instruction in public libraries, focusing on understanding the community, instructional design principles, and creative instructional delivery.


Chan, J. (2009). Information literacy and public libraries. InCite, 30(1/2), 18–19.

Elmborg, J. (2006). Critical information literacy: Implications for instructional practice. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(2), 192–199.

O’Connor, L. (2009). Information literacy as professional legitimation: A critical analysis. Journal of Education for Library & Information Science, 50(2), 79–89.

Partridge, H., Bruce, C., & Tilley, C. (2008). Community information literacy: Developing an Australian research agenda. Libri: International Journal of Libraries & Information Services, 58(2), 110–122.

Todd, R. J. (2017). Information literacy: Agendas for a sustainable future. Journal of Information Literacy, 11(1), 120.

Digital Competence for Digital Citizenship: an Emerging Agenda for Students, Academics and Libraries in Partnership

Konstantina Martzoukou1, Crystal Fulton2

1Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland; 2University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Introduction and Rationale

Various groups have defined digital literacy abilities and competencies. IFLA describes ‘digital literacy’ as “the ability to harness the potential of digital tools” and the Internet to its “fullest effect - efficiently, effectively and ethically – to meet information needs in personal, civic and professional lives” creatively, safely and with respect to rights and diversity (IFLA 2017). The EU has identified the necessity to improve citizens’ digital competencies for work and employability, learning, leisure, consumption and participation in society, addressing critical thinking and reflection and life-long learning, information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation, safety, and problem solving (Carretero Gomez et al., 2017). In the university context, however, previous research has found that students may not engage in practices associated with digital citizenship, such as e-democracy and e-government or sourcing and using online legal and financial information. The gap in students’ digital literacy highlights a lack of such skills as evaluating credibility of information and developing digital resilience. Although students are transferring into their educational environments habitual, self-taught and superficial digital behaviours, they remain perceived by their educators as digital natives who have mastered essential digital competencies. University learning strategies do not necessarily holistically explore everyday digital citizenship experiences brought into education from an increasingly interconnected and changing everyday digital world. In addition, there is still a need for “increasing communication between academic faculty, academic support staff and librarians to better understand each other’s roles and remits, and find areas for effective collaboration” (Karnad 2017 p.17). Finally, academics’ and librarians’ own digital literacies may require ongoing development by expanding professional educational opportunities and developing synergistic efforts, as well as “agile curricula” that address current and emerging trends (Bertot et al. 2016).

Research Scope and Objectives

This paper offers a scoping review of terminologies and literature around digital literacies and competencies, specifically examining four areas: the direction of current digital competencies initiatives; the development of digital competencies as a synergistic endeavour; the potential for setting a common agenda for conducting qualitative and quantitative research on the digital competencies of stakeholder groups; and the sharing of cross-institutional knowledge, expertise, practices for the teaching of digital citizenship skills addressing everyday life experiences.

The culmination of this work is a proposed framework for considering overlapping needs of students, information professionals, and academics for developing digital citizenship skills through curriculum design, testing, and evaluation.


Bertot, J. C., Sarin, L., & Jaeger, P. (2016). Re-envisioning the MLS: The future of librarian education. Public Libraries. Retrieved from

Carretero Gomez, S., Vuorikari, R., & Punie, Y. (2017). DigComp 2.1: The digital competence framework for citizens with eight proficiency levels and examples of use. Luxembourg: European Commission, EU Science Hub.

IFLA International Federation of Library Associations. (2017). IFLA statement on digital literacy. Retrieved May 15, 2018 from

Karnad, A. (2013). Embedding digital and information literacy into undergraduate teaching. London, UK: Centre for Learning Technology.

Character Building in Children’s Online Information Behaviours: Applying a Virtue Epistemology Perspective to Information Literacy

David McMenemy, Steven Buchanan

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland


This paper advances our understanding of the theoretical and practical challenges of developing character in children’s online information behaviours. Character, understood as “the comprehensive set of ethical and intellectual dispositions of a person” (Meyer, 2015), is a topic of significant societal concern. Issues in the online information behaviours of children are reported globally, ranging from access (e.g. seeking) to use (e.g. application) to conduct (e.g. respect). For example, a major UK study reports common issues of misinformation, hate speech, sexting, and cyberbullying amongst children (OFCOM, 2017), and a further UK study reports one in four have experienced cyberbullying from peers (NSPCC, 2018). Similar rates are seen in other countries, including Australia (Bullying. No Way, N.D.), the USA (CDC, 2015), South Africa, to 43% in Serbia, and 77% in Argentina (UNESCO, 2017).

We argue that issues such as cyberbullying and misuse of information extend information literacy education beyond considerations of ability (i.e. skills) to considerations of intellectual character (i.e. desirable or virtuous dispositions), and draw attention to the importance of cultivating virtuous character traits in children’s online behaviours. However, Dow (2013) has argued that “there is a striking lack of familiarity with matters of intellectual character and virtue at the academic and popular levels” within education (p.16). Consequently, this paper asks two key research questions: (1) What are the desirable character traits applicable to children’s online information behaviours? (2) How is the development of desirable character traits currently addressed within information literacy frameworks?


Our novel interdisciplinary theoretical framework applies a subset of virtue ethics, virtue epistemology, to information literacy, exploring shared concepts of knowledge acquisition. Virtue epistemology, in the knowledge acquisition context, “requires that we think, reason, judge, evaluate, read, interpret, adjudicate, search, or reflect in various ways” with particular attention to aspects of personal and intellectual character (Baehr, 2011, p.18). Desirable intellectual character traits include curiosity, intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity (Educating for Intellectual Virtues, N.D). We identify and examine virtuous character traits in the context of children’s online information behaviours, specifying desirable traits, and examining commonly cited information literacy frameworks for the presence of, and degree of prescriptive guidance offered, related to these traits.


We apply a classical perspective to a contemporary challenge, advancing our understanding of the nature of the problem, and appropriate approaches to potential interventions. This study answers an important question: are issues of detrimental online behaviours in children sufficiently addressed within information literacy theory and practice?


Baehr, J. (2011). The inquiring mind: On intellectual virtues and virtue epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bullying. No way. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

CCDC. (2015). Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States, 2015. Surveillance Summaries, 65(6).

Dow, P. E. (2013). Virtuous minds: Intellectual character development. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press.

Intellectual (n.d.). Educating for intellectual virtues. Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

Meyer, M. J. (2015). Character. In R. Audi (Ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

NSPCC. (2018). Online abuse: Facts and statistics. Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

OFCOM. (2017). Children’s media lives: Year 4 findings. Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

UNESCO. (2017). Measuring cyberbullying and online risks for children. Retrieved May 28, 2018 from

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