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ILG Chair’s Update, Jane Secker

Jane Secker

The new academic year seems to come around more quickly each year, which is probably a sign of me aging! However, despite it being a busy time of year it’s also a good time to review what I have been up to as Chair of the Information Literacy Group over the past few months and write a short update for our members and readers of the blog.

Over the past few months it’s been nice to start seeing people in face to face events again and while LILAC 2022 now seems like a long time ago, I am still so glad to have been able to catch up with many of you in Manchester. Since then, ILG have met online in June and September for our regular quarterly meetings that now take place on Zoom. However, we are all looking forward to holding our December meeting in person somewhere in London. Planning is also well underway for LILAC 2023 which is going to be held at the University of Cambridge and promises to be another fabulous event – the call for contributions has just opened. Huge thanks to Claire Packham and the rest of the LILAC team for their hard work.

There have been some changes on the ILG committee over the past few months and we’re delighted to welcome several new committee members, including Jo Lapham our FE rep and Elizabeth Brookbank our North American rep. We will also be advertising a number of committee posts very soon, so please watch this space for further details. Both Laura Woods and Anne-Lise Harding, who are joint Deputy Chairs, have been working hard on updating the ILG Strategy. One of our key objectives remains the idea of ‘mainstreaming information literacy’ and much of the work we’ve been doing in this area has been under the auspices of the Media and Information Literacy Alliance (MILA). MILA was formally created at the end of 2021 and I agreed to be Chair of the Board in January of this year. In fact this week the board held its first face to face meeting and we discussed priorities for the MILA strategy, funding the organisation and leadership and management. Part of the reason we launched MILA was to bring together stakeholders in the Media Literacy and Information Literacy field, with a belief that there could be greater opportunities to amplify the message about its importance through collaboration. It was also partly a response to the government’s Online Media Literacy Strategy launched in July 2021 and the subsequent funding available from DCMS. MILA is a great opportunity for CILIP and ILG to collaborate with organisations such as Wikimedia UK, Health Education England, Libraries Connected, the Association for Citizenship Teaching and the Patient Information Forum. And a great afternoon was spent meeting for the first time in a room with representatives from many of our stakeholders.

As a first concrete outcome MILA are funding a literature review of the impact of information literacy interventions. We hope to be able to announce the successful team who are taking on this piece of research in the next few weeks. I’m incredibly grateful to Stephane Goldstein the ILG Advocacy and Outreach Officer for all the work he’s been doing to support MILA. At LILAC we also had a chance to present the draft MIL framework and many of you have helped us shape this into what we hope will be a practical toolkit for information literacy practitioners. This work continues and is being led by Anne-Lise Harding. Please do send any thoughts or feedback you have to us.

Other ILG projects we have planned include a consultation on training and events that members would like us to run in 2023, the move of our journal JIL to a new open access provider, and continuing work on our blog and website (big shout out to Dan Pullinger and the web team).

Over the summer I remained busy as co-chair of the ALT Special Interest Group on Copyright and Online Learning and I was delighted to be able to bring back the Icepops conference in September 2022, with my co-chair Chris Morrison. Chris took up a new post at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford as their Copyright and Licensing Specialist in April 2022 and Oxford proved to be a great venue for the conference. Over 60 delegates attended and we recently published a short write up from one of the ILG new professionals who attended, Katie Wise. Meanwhile the presentations and photos from the event are online and we ran a ‘highlights of Icepops’ webinar which is available as a recording on the ALT YouTube channel. Our monthly webinars on copyright and online learning are continuing, and we were really pleased to see the publication our chapter on Copyright Education and Information Literacy in the new open access monograph, Navigating Copyright for Libraries published by IFLA / DeGruyter. We’ve also been busy recording and editing plenty more episodes of our podcast Copyright Waffle.

In other exciting personal news, I am pleased to reveal that I will be receiving an honorary doctorate for my work in information literacy and copyright education from the Open University in November 2022. Colleagues from the library at the Open University will be there to celebrate with me. I know that my nomination for this degree was partly instigated by senior library and ILG people and I am really honoured and grateful to them. I’m currently writing a speech which I will deliver at the graduation ceremony in Brighton.

I’ve also taken on additional responsibility at City University and I’m now Programme Director of the MA in Academic Practice. My modules Developing Digital Education and Digital Literacy and Open Practices remain popular with students (who are in the main lecturers at City University). However they are open to external candidates and also LIS students at City.

I hope the new term goes well for you all. Finally don’t forget to mark Global Media and Information Literacy week in your calendars, taking place from 24-31 October 2022 and look out for a few online events supported by ILG.

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