Two weeks ago I attended the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL2015); the third I was fortunate enough to attend. Held in Tallinn the capital of Estonia, which is a beautiful medieval city on the Baltic coast.
The theme of the conference was Information Literacy in the Green Society and back last year when this was announced I was a little unsure what it meant. In fact few papers I attended addressed green issues directly, but what I took away was that information literacy is central to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and IL is all part of building sustainable, democratic societies, where people have access to information and the critical abilities to know what to do with it.
I had a busy schedule, presenting three papers at the conference. The first was about the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy programme at LSE, now in its third year, so the focus of the paper was on sustainability and the impact of this programme on our undergraduate students, following the extensive evaluation we carried out in the summer of 2015. My slides are available on Slideshare and I co-authored this paper with my colleague from LSE, Maria Bell.
My second paper was inspired by attending a series of papers at last year’s ECIL on European research into the copyright literacy knowledge of library and related professionals. Following this I got involved in the second phase of this multi-national study of copyright literacy, coordinating the UK version of this survey with Chris Morrison, from the University of Kent. We presented our findings from over 600 UK librarians in an interactive, ‘Play your Cards Right’ style session to compare the data with other countries. Again these slides are on SlideShare. You can also find out more from the new website we’ve launched as a home for UK Copyright Literacy activities.
My final paper focused on recent work of the CILIP Information Literacy Group, and I delivered this with fellow ILG Committee member, Geoff Walton, from Northumbria University. UK Information Literacy Advocacy: reaching out beyond the tower, explored the advocacy work ILG have embarked on in the last year to build up links with organisations outside the library sector and to promote information literacy to groups such as Trade Unions, businesses, schools and public libraries. I also spoke about the work we’ve done with TeenTech to launch a Research and Information Literacy award.
Congratulations to Sonja Špiranec and Serap Kurbanoğlu, the founders of ECIL for another fantastic conference and for making me feel part of a global network of information literacy. I returned inspired and energized and would urge others from the UK to try to get to this conference next year, not least because it will be in another beautiful European city, Prague.