Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Critical Literacy for Information Professionals

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Critical Literacy for Information Professionals

Article excerpt

Critical Literacy for Information Professionals. Edited by Sarah McNicol. London: Facet, 2016. 172 p. Paper $95 (ISBN 978-1-78330-082-2)

"Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information," wrote Paulo Freire in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Herder and Herder 1970, 79). Freire argued that rather than viewing students as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge--termed the "banking model" of education--teachers should recognize and value students' individual perspectives and life experiences. Today's critical literacy movement has its roots in Freire's philosophy. When taught critical literacy methods, students begin from the viewpoint that there can be no single "correct" way to interpret information. Instead, texts should be questioned and read with an eye to the cultural forces that shaped them and the sociopolitical agendas they advance. Critical literacy also incorporates an element of social justice, calling students to actively promote the human rights of all marginalized communities.

Critical literacy presents librarians with a broad agenda, so the essays that make up Critical Literacy for Information Professionals are divided into theory and practice. The first seven chapters discuss how critical literacy principles can reframe the way librarians approach communities as varied as people with disabilities, international students, and patients within the healthcare system. The remainder of the book is devoted to case studies of critical literacy in action in school, college, and university classrooms. …

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