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Library Literacy


1. Introduction: Library literacy includes knowledge of the services available through a library, an understanding of the array of resources available, knowledge of how information is organized and through this, an understanding of the best means of finding it. Library literacy includes crucial skill in the pursuit of knowledge on library including how to use the library, how to locate the required information, how to evaluate the different sources of information and how to effectively use the information.

2. Definition: Library literacy may be defined as the involvement of the libraries in imparting all the activities and skills that are involved in teaching users how to make the best possible use of the library resources, services and facilities including formal and informal instruction delivered by the library staff members in one to one communication or in group communication. Bell defines library literacy as, “in the academic setting, library literacy refers to the acquisition of a range of skills relating to identification of and familiarity with sources and information seeking processes, usually through formal bibliographic instruction and informal user education”. According to IFLA Guidelines for Public Libraries, August 2010, “Literacy is the key to education and knowledge and to use of library and information services.”

3. Need: The Library Literacy encourage the independent, curiosity, lifelong learning of individuals and groups. The need of library literacy arises due to the following-
a) To Promote the Use of the Library: The library literacy promotes the use of the library resources and services.
b) To Promote Information Literacy: Acquiring library skills are perhaps the first step a person must take in order to become information literate.
c) To Develop the Society: The library literacy contributes to the economic, social and cultural health of the communities and the nation as a whole.
d) To Promote Life Long Learning: The library literacy promotes the lifelong learning and builds independence within the user.

4. Types: Library literacy skills can be categorized into two types
a) Generic and Transferable: The generic and transferable library skills are those that can be used in any library i.e. strategies of searching information in an online catalogue, how to use a reference work, etc.
b) Specific and Non-Transferable: The specific library skills refer to the way the library is organized i.e. what type of publications are available on open shelves, what type of organizing criteria is used in the library, where serials, back volumes of the books can be found, classification system used, what are the available resources and so on.

5. Ways of Imparting Library Literacy: The IFLA Section on Reading presents some practical suggestions for library staff who would like to help the society to become more literate. The library literacy skills can be imparted through the following ways
a) Library Orientation: Library orientation tour helps the new users to acquire the library literacy skills to a great extent.
b) Bibliographic Instruction: Bibliographic instruction consists of instructional programs designed to teach library users how to locate the information they need quickly and effectively.
c) User Education: User education includes all the activities involved in teaching users how to make the best possible use of library resources, services and facilities, including formal and informal instruction delivered by the library staff.

6. Conclusion: The basic objective of library literacy is to introduce the user to library techniques, resources and services and thus to promote self study and to convert them to lifelong learner. The library literacy is the first step towards information literacy. The library orientation, bibliographic instruction, user education, etc contribute towards the library literacy in particular and information literacy in general.



How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanBadan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links (http://www.lislinks.com) - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the UGC NET Guide (http://www.netugc.com) and LIS Study (http://www.lisstudy.com) website.

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