Friday, August 28, 2009

IFLA Reports: Information Literacy logo session

This is the last long report from the IFLA/ World Library and Information Conference taking place in Milan, Italy, but I'll be doing a few shorter ones e.g. of a couple of posters.

This was a session on Wednesday focusing on use of the international UNESCO/IFLA information literacy logo (shown here). This logo was identified through a competition and judged by an international panel (including me). The logo website is at and you can download it in various formats and with "information literacy" in several languages. The idea is that people worldwide start using it, so that awareness of information literacy grows, and people also find it useful as a simple logo for branding.
Linda Goff started by explaining how the logo was chosen and gave an example of how she was using it as part of a big poster she has up in her university. She then handed over to Jesus Lau who talked about How to brand and market information literacy with the information literacy logo. He and Linda have been developing a marketing toolkit for the logo. This is not yet available, but I will blog it when it is.
Jesus started by talking about marketing, and giving a short introduction to that. As a shortcut, I will link to my own website that introduces marketing. I haven't updated it for a while, so the links may not work, but the main thing is the pages on key marketing aspects, and those are still valid (and short!). So, if you don't know what marketing is, feel free to divert to at this point.
Jesus went on to talk more specifically about information literacy and marketing. He encouraged people to think of problems and objectives in terms of marketing e.g. segmenting your market according to their characteristics and needs, looking at the place of delivery and whether it meets requirements and expectations etc. He talked hrough stages of identifying needs, refining your information literacy "service" and communicating your message. I would add that you also need to think of educational aspects, when you start doing indepth information literacy work, as you may want to challenge and change ideas through your teaching (not just please people!)
Branding is particularly relevant for the information literacy logo. It means creating a strong connection between the logo, the marketing efforts and the IL "service" you provide. Branding needs to be consistent and persistent to be successful, so Jesus suggested putting it on business cards, banners, pens, flyers, website etc., so people recognise it and understand its meaning. There will be some templates in the toolkit that he is producing. Jesus talked about getting your promotional message right and using appropriate channels, including social media such as Twitter. He advocated using the mass media (e.g. using free opportunities, sending press releases and getting on local radio). Don't neglect also to publish anything appropriate in the Infolit global directory (

If many people use it internationally, theinformation literacy logo will make it easier to communicate about information literacy, including with people and organisations you want to influence. The goal is to make it internationally familiar like the "i" for information symbol.
There was then a session for people to exchange ideas about marketing using the logo. I was deliquent and was talking to people about other things (other information literacy things, I hasten to add). However I have used the logo; you can see it on this blog's home page and also on teh CILR Ning, it is on the Information Literacy in Second Life calendar and I used it on posters for the recent information literacy seminar. However, I realised that we haven't really used it inside my university.
Just a couple of ideas from other people at the session: A medical librarian putting forward the slogan "we save lives with information literacy"; using the logo to create awareness with administrators; another slogan "As to me, all I know is that what I want to know, I get from IL" (after Socrates); someone from Cote d'Ivoire talking about using it on material from a training session. I and Lisa Hinchliffe suggested on setting up an online shop on one of the internet stores, with information literacy branded t-shirts, bags etc. and we are going to see if we can do that (I think the issue will be working out an account that doesn't infringe some IFLA bye-law).
There was a call to translate the logo toolkit, and more translations of the phrase "information literacy" were gathered. I will also point to these when they go online.

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