How Philosophical Theory Informs Information Literacy Practice

FLIERL, Michael and MAYBEE, Clarence (2018) How Philosophical Theory Informs Information Literacy Practice. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 116 - Library Theory and Research with Information Literacy.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2145
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

How Philosophical Theory Informs Information Literacy Practice

To advance information literacy (IL) practice in higher education – academic librarians can investigate the philosophical foundations and commitments we all necessarily make about what the world is and what is most meaningful. This paper will describe and contrast two such commitments, Critical Theory and phenomenography, that ground popular IL theories and practices, and how such foundational commitments can influence IL practice in higher education. Particular attention will be given to informed learning and critical IL. Accordingly, this paper argues for a simple syllogism: 1. Philosophical commitments about what the world is informs (intentionally or not) IL theory. 2. IL theory informs IL practice. 3. Therefore, philosophical commitments about the world inform IL practice. Investigating IL practice in this way has a number of benefits. Understanding the philosophical foundations of IL theory allows practitioners to apply IL more broadly and holistically across an institution. The better one can articulate what IL is and why they take a certain approach, the more convincing they can be in aligning IL with campus-wide initiatives. Additionally, a philosophical lens allows academic librarians a new way to recognize the limitations of IL practice, and could also provide new avenues for different theoretical approaches of IL to engage in better dialogue. One way to enrich IL practice is to examine the philosophical foundations of IL theory.

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