Relationship between Media Literacy and Civic Participation among Young Adults in Latvia
Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Valmiera, Latvia
Scholars often assume that nowadays media and information literacy is an increasingly necessary life-skill in order to be successfully engaged and active in civic and political processes, both offline and online. As Mihailidis (2014) has argued, media literacy is a crucial aspect of the development of participatory democracy. The most popular notions of media and information literacy for active civic participation include the abilities of individuals to access, to gather, and to analyze information in various formats and platforms, to create informed opinions, and to share their perspectives with others, again, by using a variety of platforms and formats. In short, it is understood as a multidimensional concept, simultaneously containing the abilities for information consumption and production (prosumption).
Studies examining the relationships between different aspects of media literacy and active citizenship remain limited. Thus, we seek to address these gaps in our understanding by asking the following question: What are the relationships between practices of civic participation and the different dimensions of media literacy?
In our empirical work, we rely on the framework developed by Koc and Barut (2016) on four sub-segments of media literacy:
1. functional consumption
2. critical consumption
3. functional prosumption, and
4. critical prosumption.
The study is based on an online survey of 406 respondents (36% male respondents and 64% female respondents) in the age group of 18-30 (M = 22.22, SD = 3.35). We measure respondents’ media literacy and civic activity, as well as sociodemographic data such as age and education. The survey combines a New Media Literacy Scale (Koc & Barut, 2016) and an original Civic Participation Scale which was developed during the study. Results show civic activity (F (7,398) = 14.60, p < .001) being predicted only by the level of education (β = .22, p < .001), and the two sub-segments of presumption in media literacy scale: functional presumption (β = .15, p < .05), and critical presumption (β = .20, p < .001).
Based on our results, we argue for media literacy promotion in school and university curricula, with an increased emphasis on various practices of information production and sharing as forms of self-expression, and prosumption being a vital part of active citizenship and citizen engagement. Furthermore, media literacy provides opportunities to be more informed and more able to form an opinion (to be a skilled media consumer), but it does not automatically guarantee increase in civic participation. Consequently, more research and empirical evidence is needed to examine the relationships between active citizenship and the various dimensions of media literacy, especially those related to media prosumption.
Koc, M., & Barut, E. (2016). Development and validation of New Media Literacy Scale (NMLS) for university students. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 834–843.
Mihailidis, P. (2014). Media literacy and the emerging citizen: Youth, engagement and participation in digital culture. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Effects of New Public Management (NPM) and Austerity in European Public and Academic Libraries
1Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany; 2InformAll, UK; 3University of Bergen Library, Norway; 4Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania; 5University of Eastern Finland Library, Kuopio, Finland
Libraries as guardians of the quality of information for everyday life have become even more important in a time of rapidly expanding information possibilities. Nowadays, however, information literate citizens must be enabled to reach views on the reliability of information. Information literacy in the public sphere is therefore an important task for libraries. At the same time, new public management (NPM) is changing the way libraries, both public and academic, are expected to act in their local communities (Pors & Johannsen, 2003). The effects of economic austerity with libraries being closed owing to budgetary constraints must also be taken into account (Düren, Landøy & Saarti, 2017), as must the neoliberal agenda surrounding libraries.
The changing circumstances call for new leadership, new competences and new approaches to the running of library services. In this paper, the authors will present data from interviews with library leaders from five European countries, about their experiences of changes in libraries as a result of implementing NPM. In the interviews, the leaders were asked if they found ways of training citizens in information literacy. They were also asked how this could be achieved when libraries are squeezed between demands for better service and less funding. The library leaders’ experiences in each country are expected to be different, reflecting varying levels of economic austerity, and how closely each country adheres to NPM-theory and practice. The authors will also use national library statistics and data from the libraries where the leaders work, to compare user experiences and usage of the libraries.
While it is evident that the environment and the libraries are changing, it is not clear how the changes will actually impact the drive to make citizens more information literate. We see, for instance, that NPM and reduced budgets can lead to greater cooperation. In itself, this sometimes results in more or even better IL in libraries through bringing in external expertise and even financing.
Düren, P., Landøy, A., & Saarti, J. (2017). New public management and libraries: A success story or just an excuse for cost reduction. Library Management, 38(8/9), 477–487.
Pors, N. O., & Johannsen, C. G. (2003). Library directors under cross-pressure between new public management and value-based management. Library Management, 24(1/2), 51–60.
Usability of Social Network Analysis in Assessing Libraries’ Community Roles. Proof of Concept
Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
The concomitant phenomenon of contemporary society´s development is the radical transformation of information and communication processes, the disruption of traditional social ties and an increase in distrust. This situation also influences the role of libraries in society, with particular impact on public libraries. Public libraries fulfil their traditional cultural function by providing access to information, but they also perform an increasingly important community role. Thus public libraries can significantly contribute to forming and consolidating trust in the society at the mezzo-level between macro and microsphere, strengthen social cohesion, and consolidate relations between stratified groups of the society at the local level (Halpern, 2005; Vårheim, 2017).
An essential condition for fulfilling the community role is a thorough understanding of the position of the public library in the local social network. The approaches used by libraries so far are based on partial, intuitive forms of assessment. In our study, we prove that the analysis of such networks can be based on a theoretically as well as methodologically rigorous approach. This article outlines the possibilities of using a specific sociological method - Social Network Analysis (SNA) - in the field of library and information science (LIS), specifically to analyze the position of the library in the local community and the community itself as a whole (Robins, 2015; Scott, 2013).
Method and Outcomes
The main contribution of this study is the pilot verification of SNA implementation in a local library in a small town environment, in this case Sedlčany town in Central Bohemia (population 7,000). In the framework of the study, a socio-centric approach of the „whole network“ as a system of social relations among local organizations, firms and public institutions is carried out. It examines: 1) the centrality of individual nodes (identifying the most important as well as the least important nodes and bridging nodes), 2) cohesion of the whole network (compact/fragmented, density of the relationships) 3) nodes subgroups in the network (identifying clusters of mutually linked nodes) etc. Data for the analysis will be gathered from publicly available resources (e.g., newspapers, web presentations, calendars of cultural events). A subjective perception of community relations will be identified in cooperation with the library director using mind-maps and semi-structured interview. In the end, both outcomes will be compared in order to prove usability of the SNA in the process of assessing libraries´ community role. A visualisation software tool is used for the final presentation of the network structure.
The article identifies the benefits and limitations of SNA in the process of a) defining the library´s community role, and b) building its strategy for development in local conditions. The resulting map of nodes, relationships and links in the local social network can serve as a basis for community development, so that the individual elements together form a meaningful, comprehensive and targeted strategy to help increase the integrity of the local community, reduce social exclusion, better integrate all inhabitants into the key activities of the community, consolidate mutual trust in society, and cultivate local interpersonal relationships.
Halpern, D. (2005). Social capital. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press.
Robins, G. (2015). Doing social network research. London: SAGE Publications.
Scott, J. (2013). Social network analysis. London: SAGE Publications.
Vårheim, A. (2017). Public libraries, community resilience, and social capital. Information Research, 22(1), 1–14.
Four Spaces of Civic Literacy Education: A Literature Review
The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
To be prepared for living and working in the 21st century, the current generation of students must learn how to handle the tremendous amount of information, both solicited and unsolicited, they have to sort through. It is crucial for them to possess the ability to assess the reliability and usefulness of the information around them. Media and information literacy are therefore strongly linked to the concept of 21st century skills (www.p21.org).
Most research studies on information literacy are conducted within the context of educational institutions (Rader, 2002; Weiner, 2011). Those research papers study how students perform information tasks while carrying out their coursework. Studies that focus on the development of more ‘civic’ information tasks are much harder to find in the library and information science literature. Active information seeking and a critical evaluation of information and media are nonetheless essential components of democratic participation (Cats and Lau, 2008; Sturges and Gastinger, 2010). This is particularly true in this age of fake news (Yerbury and Henninger, 2017).
Research Purpose and Methods
The purpose of this literature study was to obtain an overview of previous civic literacy projects and their characteristics, as primarily described in the educational science literature. Eighteen academic articles about civic literacy projects in higher education were studied in detail and coded using the qualitative data analysis instrument Atlas.ti. The codes and quotations compiled were then divided in various categories and represented in a two-axis model.
The definitions of ‘civic literacy’ found in the literature varied from an interest in social issues and a critical attitude to a more activist attitude (axis number 1). An analysis of the literature showed that, especially in more recent years, students have benefited more from civic literacy projects than have citizens (axis number 2). The main benefits for students pertained to such learning goals as critical thinking and developing a social attitude. The best learning environments for developing such social skills have an interdisciplinary character that necessitates student collaboratation with others. The role of teaching professionals is primarily restricted to guidance and feedback.
Catts, R., & Lau, J. (2008). Towards information literacy indicators. Paris: Unesco.
Rader, H. B. (2002). Information literacy 1973-2002: A selected literature review. Library Trends, 51(2), 242–259.
Sturges, P., & Gastinger, A. (2010). Information literacy as a human right. Libri, 60(3), 195–202.
Weiner, S. (2011). Information literacy and the workforce: A review. Education Libraries, 34(2), 7–14.
Yerbury, H., & Henninger, M. (2017). Civil commitment and the role of public librarians. In S. Špiranec et al. (Eds.), The Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL): Abstracts, September 18-21, 2017, Saint-Malo, France (p. 152). Saint-Malo: Information Literacy Association.