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About the NFIL

Mainstreaming Information Literacy

“It empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use, and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations.”

(The Alexandria Proclamation, 2005)

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information, to identify, locate, evaluate, and use effectively that information for the issue or problem at hand.

Simply put, information literacy is the key competency needed to enhance K-16 academic performance, engage patient personal responsibility,  improve workplace performance and productivity, and compete effectively in a dynamically evolving world marketplace.

What is the National Forum on Information Literacy?

In 1989,  responding to the dynamic evolution of the Information Age and the emerging educational reform movement, the American Library Association(A.L.A.) had the unique foresight to establish the  Presidential Committee on Information Literacy to:

  1. Define information literacy within the higher literacies and its important to student performance, lifelong learning, and active citizenship;
  2. Design one or more models for information literacy development appropriate to formal and informal learning environments throughout people’s lifetimes; and
  3. Determine implications for the continuing education and development of teachers.

These education and library leaders stated that no other change in American society has offered greater challenges than the emergence of the Information Age. The Committee submitted a report that listed 6 recommendations providing a blueprint of how we, as a nation, could reap major benefits from actively engaging in this new social transformation.  Raising national awareness across the spectrum of American society was a primary concern.  As a result, the ALA Presidential Committee established the National Forum on Information Literacy to promote  information literacy at home and abroad.

Today, the National Forum on Information Literacy is a robust collaborative of 100 + national and international organizations working together, on various levels, to mainstream this critical, 21st century educational and workforce development concept throughout every segment of society.

Our Mission

The mission of the National Forum on Information Literacy to mainstream information literacy philosophy and practices throughout every sector of American society, working with kindred organizations and businesses concerned with the economic and social welfare of the American people. Information is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and enormously rapid strides are being made in the information and communication technology universe for storing, organizing, and accessing the ever-growing tidal wave of information. The combined effect of these factors is an increasingly fragmented information base, a large component of which are available only to people with money and/or acceptable institutional affiliations. In the recent past, the outcome of these challenges has been characterized as the “digital divide”.

Access to this vital skill set remains a formidable barrier for many middle class and underprivileged Americans faced with the daily economic and social hardships they must endure because they lack the ability to access the necessary information to make informed decisions to improve their quality of life. It is the work of the National Forum to maintain the visibility of information literacy by collaborating on a variety of activities with a host of organizations, schools, colleges/universities, businesses, and governmental agencies to insure that information literacy is not overlooked and/or undervalued in the corridors of public policy as we move forward with empowering all Americans to their fullest economic and social potential.

National Information Literacy Awareness Month

In 2009, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring October, National Information Literacy Awareness Month, calling upon all Americans to recognize that “the ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational, or technical…An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society.” In these times of dynamic information and communication technology transformation, let us not forget the critical importance of information and digital literacy skill development, representing one of the pivotal cornerstones of our human capital development efforts as we move forward to sustain our presence as a first rate nation in the world community, now and in the decades ahead.

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