The research reveals the need for Information Literacy (which includes digital, visual, media, textual, and technological literacy) to be taught at all levels of instruction, and the School Library Media Specialist has the education and expertise to provide consistent training throughout New Jersey schools with supported school library programs.

In a statement by New Jersey’s academic library associations titled The Value and Importance of Highly Effective School Library Programs it states:

  • We [college and university librarians] see that many college freshmen are poorly prepared to conduct college-level research, requiring professors and librarians to spend more time than they should on basic skills.
  • We further understand that information literate students—those with strong analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills–are more attractive job candidates. Becoming a strong job candidate means learning how to learn, a process that starts when students are young and is nurtured year after year. Some of this nurturing comes from the unique expertise offered by School Media Specialists and the resources they steward in school libraries.
  • School libraries provide equitable access to information and technological resources that lead to increased student motivation, better comprehension, higher assessment scores, and higher graduation rates.

The new ESSA legislation authorizes school districts to include in their local plans how schools will “develop digital literacy skills and improve academic achievement.”

For college readiness, one can look to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education from the Association of College and Research Libraries:

“Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” (1)

Recent Relevant Research:
• 75% have no idea how to locate articles and resources they need for their research.
• 60% don’t verify the accuracy or reliability of the information they find.
• 44% do not know how to integrate knowledge from different sources. (2)

• 49% of teachers report that student’s access to technology is one of the “biggest barriers to incorporating technology into their teaching” because the students are “often not digitally literate enough.”
• 56% of teachers of the lowest-income students say that lack of resources among students to access digital technologies is a “major challenge” to incorporating more digital tools into their teaching
Today’s Digital Technologies Teachers Report:
• 83% Information available online is overwhelming for most students
• 60% Digital technologies make it harder for students to find and use credible sources of information
• 71% Digital technologies discourage students from finding and using a wide range of sources (3)

• School librarians have deep expertise in digital literacy skills; have well-developed instructional strategies based on thinking critically, communicating creatively in a variety of media, and solving problems creatively; and are often role models for strong leadership, initiative, and other career and life skills. (4)

Citations:

(1) Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education [PDF document]. http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/issues/infolit/Framework_ILHE.pdf

(2) New Jersey Association of School Librarians. (2015) School Libraries: A Lesson in Student Success.
[PDF document]. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.njasl.info/wp-content/images/Infographic.pdf

(3) School Librarians Transform Learning. (2014). [PDF document]. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslissues/advocacy/AASL_Infographic_FINAL.pdf

(4) Trilling, B. (2010). From Libraries to Learning Libratories: The New ABC’s of 21st-Century School Libraries. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 43.
http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/Trilling2010-v27n1p43.html