ECIL 2016 report by IL Group bursary winner

Kirsten McCormick, a librarian at Glasgow Life public libraries, was the recipient of a CILIP Information Literacy Group bursary to attend the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL), which is taking place this week at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Kirsten has provided us with a short report reflecting on her experiences at this key event in the international IL calendar.

A Powerful Scene: ECIL2016
Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge, Prague

Thanks to a generous bursary from ILG, my walk to work this morning took in spectacular views from Charles Bridge in Prague. I’ve come to ECIL2016 to learn more about theory, research, and best practice in the field of information literacy. Already, my expectations around the passion and dedication of experts in the field and the insight they can lend to my own practice have been exceeded.

The theme for the fourth international conference, organised by the Association of Czech Universities, is the inclusive society. In a rousing keynote speech, Tara Brabazon reminded us all of the power that librarians have to support learning in a society that regularly confuses popularity and ease of access with quality. She made a dramatic rallying call for librarians to engage directly in a challenge against information ignorance.

Best practice sessions have provided many interesting examples of ongoing work in public and academic libraries, as well as commercial provision. There has been a fascinating dialogue around levels of political support, or lack thereof, for the cultivation of information literacy amongst citizens. I was heartened to learn of the legal requirement for Slovenian primary and secondary schools to deliver assessed library instruction. Government non-cognizence of the IL concept and its critical importance for social progression seems more prevalent, however.

This morning’s keynote presentation by Jan Van Dijk was a big highlight for me. He communicated a deep understanding of the hierarchies of skills required for a productive life in the 21st Century. Relationships between individuals and the digital world are becoming ever more complex and many people don’t recognise or acknowledge their own difficulty in navigating information in this context. I will look forward to reading more of Jan’s research.

Practical tools I have learned of this week and will use include CORA – an online research assignment resource. I have ideas about additional information I would like to capture at our reference desks, map to IL standards, and articulate in value statements for my employer. Unsurprisingly, I will also be taking home a long reading list and a renewed verve for advocating the importance of information literacy.

Find out more about the European Conference on Information Literacy

Find out more about sponsorship and bursary opportunities provided by the CILIP IL Group

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