As data and digital technology continues to become more and more a part of our everyday lives, digital literacy has necessarily become a large part of library programming - across sectors.
Within schools and other learning environments, this has meant that libraries have responded with initiatives designed to increase the digital literacy of students and staff:
- Makerspaces, including access to 3D printers
- Digital workshops
- Technology showcases
The increase of e-learning initiatives in public schools and post-secondary institutions means libraries need to develop programs and services designed for digital literacy, i.e., programs that move beyond siloed information delivery of a particular e-learning platform, by integrating and contextualizing e-learning in the broader digital literacy landscape, staff and students can begin to understand how these seemingly disparate parts are actually incredibly intertwined.
As such, library staff need to develop programs and services that effectively and iteratively educate and explore digital literacy issues for students and faculty at the microcosm of our schools, and the macrocosm of the digital world. To put it more concretely, school and academic libraries are in position to offer workshops, programs, and services that directly respond to privacy, collaboration, cognitive load, and other emerging and ongoing issues regarding digital technologies which can enhance and underpin classroom e-learning tool usage.
It is apparent that libraries should be playing a central role in helping educational institutions respond appropriately to the growing importance of digital technologies in education. Libraries are an ideal location for this kind of support to be centered because digital technologies in education are fundamentally about accessing, assessing and using information and library staff have the skills to support this activity.
It is important, however, that libraries provide this support as part of an overall institutional digital strategy that spells out the goals and methods for achieving those goals and clearly articulates the responsibilities of different parts of the organization for providing the necessary support. Students, faculty and staff need to know who is providing what kind of support so there is no confusion.