I am blogging from the Lifelong Learning Conference in Yeppoon Australia. Today's first keynote is by Lana Jackman, co-Chair of the National forum on Information Literacy in the USA. I'm having a go at liveblogging it, though I will probably do a bit of editing afterwards. There is more info about her at http://www.melangeinfo.com/
about.htmand about the NFIL generally at http://www.infolit.org/.
She described work as chair as "one of my most passionate activities". It may be time of change for NFIL, since they are becoming non-profit corporation, with the current members serving in an advisory capacity as trustees and adopting a social enterprise structure. This is a movement from the current non-profit organisation. They are also likely to have a new home at Purdue University, which is already very committed to information literacy. The official announcement will be make n 2009. The mission of NFIL is "mainstreaming information literacy and lifelong learning philosophy worldwide" and she stressed need for IL and Lifelong Learning (LLL) abilities in current world.
Dr Jackman called IL an "all terrain vehicle that drives us over challenges" and later on she talked about Information as an "Asset based approach" toLifelong Learning (LLL). She identified competitive advantage, of interest to all countries, as dependent on IL and LLL. She also showed a video about "boundary crossing" leadership in the healthcare section, including looking across ethnic, sectoral and cultural boundaries, to address issues and achieve social change.
Dr Jackman saw NFIL as a boundary-crossing organisation: she wants it to move still further in this direction. She took the phrase "Leadership is hope in action" as inspirational in this context - and emphasised the need to go outside the library world to show how IL can impact in other spheres. Engaging the member 93 NFIL organisations "beyond allegiance" was challenging (i.e. beyond them just signing up to the idea of IL, but rather taking it up within their organisations in a more active way.
Dr Jackman talked about milestones of NFIL, founded in 1989 by Patricia Senn Breivik, who led NFIL until recently. These include being instrumental in setting up the Prague and Alexandria meeting that have been so important for the international development of IL.
One slide compared key skills as defined by the American Library Association with standards which are being drafted by the National ICT literacy Policy Council. There is some information about this at http://www.infolit.org/policycouncil.doc. I wasn't quite clear of why this was happening, as it seems to me to be taking IL back into the "part of ICT" area, which doesn't seem s agood thing. I may get a chance to ask Dr Jackman more about this.
The NFIL's challenges are: Getting more evidence based research; boundary crossing leadership; "community based participatory research" (involving the community itself in research, and adapting results to real-world environments see e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=hstat1a.chapter.44133); a diffusion strategy; National ICT literacy challenges (Apparently in the US the digital divide is now being underplayed by the US Government); an enhanced NFIL network. Dr Jackman's challenge to everyone was to go out, outside our comfort zones and do something about IL