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A Presidential Proclamation


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                           October 1, 2009

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Barack H. Obama, President

President Barack H. Obama – National Information Literacy Awareness Month, October 2009

“Every day, we are inundated with vast amounts of information.  A 24-hour news cycle and thousands of global television and radio networks, coupled with an immense array of online resources, have challenged our long-held perceptions of information management. Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decision making. National Information Literacy Awareness Month highlights the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age.”

President Barack Obama, 2009

On October 1, 2009, President Barack Obama’s issued a proclamation establishing October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.  The evolution of this proclamation was a result of a joint petition submitted directly to the White House by Senator John F. Kerry and Senator Edward M. Kennedy on behalf of the National Forum on Information Literacy. Both senators agreed that preparing Americans to seek highly skilled jobs and compete successfully in a global marketplace was a top priority within our current economic recovery efforts.

One of the most effective ways to hasten our economic recovery and ensure our nation’s long-term stability is to make the development of human capital the cornerstone of U.S. economic policy.   In the 21st century, information literacy lies at the heart of such development.

The need for an information literate citizenry was first articulated in the 1989 American Library Association’s (ALA) Presidential Committee on Information Literacy Report.  The report recognized that the advent of the Information Age created a seismic shift in not only how we should teach and learn, but also how we should live and work in the 21stcentury.   With the arrival of the Internet and the World Wide Web came a whole new set of basic skills. The 3Rs alone – reading, writing, and arithmetic – no longer represented the basic literacy skills needed by all Americans to achieve educational and workplace success in this new millennium.

As a result, the National Forum recognizes information literacy as a key 21st century skill set required for successful educational and workforce preparation. Information literacy empowers learners and workers to become informed decision makers by utilizing diverse methods and strategies to find, evaluate, assess and use effectively information from a variety of sources.  These are, in effect, the lifelong learning skills needed by all people to live responsibly and work efficiently in today’s information society.

We encourage every school, college/university, organization, and business around the nation to annually recognize October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month through organizationally designed, promotional efforts and activities that embrace consumer participation.

Mainstreaming this critical 21st century skill set within our own educational and training programs brings us one step closer to ensuring that the United States of America continues to thrive as a first rate nation within the world community, now and in the future.

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