Library corner: let’s talk about information literacy

Teens and adults alike can benefit from library information literacy classes taught by Shelly Mathis at the Kremmling Library.
Grand County Library District / Courtesy Photo

According to library associate Shelly Mathis, many people fall victim to the types of information they read on the Internet. Searching for and finding accurate and credible information online can be solved by paying close attention to tips and details found on websites.

I decided to interview Shelly in the hope that she could provide some advice that will help get to the heart of the matter.

“It’s all about information literacy,” Shelly said. “The American Library Association’s traditional definition of information literacy is the ability to locate, assess, and effectively use necessary information. Yet literacy skills must become more than just a reminder of recommended steps. Instead, we need to integrate knowledge into our daily social and cultural practices. “

Motivated by her desire to share this knowledge, Shelly launched the InfoLit Club which meets monthly at the Kremmling Library.

When asked why an InfoLit club, Shelly explained, “Such knowledge supports lifelong learning and democratic citizenship. Information literacy not only helps us avoid victimization, but it trains us to be savvy online researchers who can find reliable information among the plethora of content now available.

The teens and parents of Shelly’s InfoLit Club learn something new each month that will help them navigate our world of abundant information and technology. Information literacy skills are not just for students, but for everyone. Those who attend the club had wonderful things to say about their learning experiences.

“Information on how to search using Google and other search engines, as well as the local library’s search catalog, should be the first thing taught in every English class!” In these times, everyone should have this “Boolean” information in their hands. “- Deb

“We really enjoyed the InfoLit course offered at the Kremmling Library. Shelly’s presentation is fun and relates to current content being taught and learned. Understanding how to find accurate and reliable information is very important, and we have already been able to practice some of the skills taught so far in the program. We are very grateful and look forward to the next classes. – Laura

“This course was very useful to me. It taught me new ways to search the library catalog and the Internet. I think it will be very useful to me in the future when I need to find some good information online or a specific book in the library. – Téagan

“… I find [the information literacy class] important and useful because of its ability to teach how to navigate a largely inconsistent, storytelling-oriented database of opinions and research the facts that seem so hard to find. – Carl

“The Information Literacy program opened my eyes to many new ways not only to search the library catalog for specific books and materials, but it completely changed the way I search for information on the subject. Web. Didn’t know there were so many shortcuts and other specific ways of searching. I am so thankful that my daughter is learning these great tools now, so she can take them with her to college and into her future. These are truly invaluable skills to possess and I wish I had known a few years ago! “- Anne

Shelly shared some quick CRAAP test tips to ask yourself when searching the internet to avoid being duped. Try them the next time you’re looking for credible information online:

• Currency: Are the links functional and will they get you where they promise to take you?

• Relevance: How up-to-date is the information? Would you be comfortable citing this source?

• Authority: What does the URL reveal about the author or source?

• Accuracy: Is the information verified by evidence, peer review and other credible sources? Is the tone impartial and emotionless?

• Purpose: is the purpose of information to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? Is the information a fact or an opinion, biased or impartial, objective or emotional?


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