On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Mobile Literacy / Transliteracies

I have had some time now to reflect upon the Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU) conference I recently attended.  I came away buoyed by the encouragement and support given by so many knowledgeable and accomplished colleagues.

I am reassured that my attitudes toward literacy, instruction strategies and methods, and use of emerging technologies are progressive and aligned with forward-thinking best practices and with other far more skilled librarians in our profession. Whew.

It was during conversations with other professionals between sessions that we noted there were very few discussions specifically about literacy.   Presentations included study results of perspectives of faculty toward instruction, embedding objects and using technologies, establishing evaluation toolkits about literacy, evidence-based instruction, barriers to creating tutorials, and much more.  These were powerful, rewarding, and insightful. Yet, I noted a topic gap in pre- and post- presentation conversations.  New literacies.  Transliteracy.

I conducted a smattering of inductive research asking many attendees to share their perspective of new literacies, emerging literacy trends, and what might be the desired librarian competencies in context of these new literacies.  Well, I was indeed surprised.

Many had not thought mobile or social networking or media literacy as meriting individual instruction perceiving these literacies as ancillary to foundational information literacy instruction. Some considered that to show a video in class or print a QR code on a handout satisfied, integrated, or punctuated these other literacies, was enough to give them a nod of inclusion in the cannon of literacy.  Few could articulate the implications of demands of such new literacies for librarians but were using more videos in instruction or beginning to populate QR codes on handouts, websites, library study rooms, and library stacks.

However, there seemed a dichotomy developing. Some librarians, though seemingly a minority, attending this conference chortled a tad when it was suggested that the act of placing QR codes at various places throughout a library was enough to secure a check mark toward achieving mobile literacy proficiency.  Harrumph, indeed! Mobile literacy is meaningful only when the critical thought and an assessment component is addressed.  Any librarian who has some technology skills can decide the content, create a QR code, and place it somewhere,  but reasons to  develop and where to place QR codes, scope of content, how to evaluate and assess outcomes or use, and other aspects including librarians’ and users’ literacy skills must be strategically planned well before QR codes begin to appear. A disconnect between creating QR codes and developing mobile or transliteracy competency appears clear and wide.

Joe Murphy argues that “the mobile literate librarian is fluent with mobile technology, its impacts on libraries and its applications to library services.  Librarians possessing mobile literacy skills are familiar with the expectations of mobile culture and are prepared for providing service in & with mobile technologies ” (Joe Murphy, http://bit.ly/ilP902). How can librarians develop competencies and proficiencies when some don’t own or use cell phones, smart phones, iPads, etc.?  What training do libraries provide to ensure librarians have opportunities to achieve high levels of competencies and proficiencies within the context of transliteracy?

Mobile technologies affect information literacy programs and information access processes, user and librarian expectations, physical library space, and the roles of librarians.  Merely placing QR codes around a library is not enough to suggest that librarians are responding to mobile literacy needs.  The mobile literate librarian understands how to enter the mobile culture, deliver services in mobile landscapes, adeptly use new tools, and be flexible when developing new strategies (Joe Murphy, http://bit.ly/ilP902).

What are you doing to improve your mobile literacy within the context of translitearcy competencies?

See Joe Murphy’s Prezi – Mobile Literacy: Competencies for the Mobile Tech

One comment on “Mobile Literacy / Transliteracies

  1. pjaeger

    Interesting observations. Poignant for today’s digital journey! Another thought or two for the conversation:
    * just because one becomes digitally literate, does not mean that person is transliterate. I believe the person who is digitally literate (or mobile literate) still needs to understand. No longer is “reading” enough. We must be able to find meaning and react to the information — to complete the cycle. Literacy now includes understanding just as reading scores included comprehension. Therefore, thinking critically is now part of the equation. – Read today’s post on transliteracy: http://librarydoor.blogspot.com/2011/06/alls-buzz-over-transliteracy.html

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This entry was posted on 06/21/2011 by in Competency, Conference, Transliteracy and tagged , , .
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