Critical Information Literacy: An Introduction and Conversation

  Annie Downey, Reed College; Erin Conor, University of Washington; Andi Beckendorf, Luther College

Instruction is one aspect of librarianship in which critical practices have found an active cohort of practitioners. As an important component of critical librarianship, critical information literacy (CIL) expands our understanding of information literacy by acknowledging the power dynamics underlying the creation and dissemination of information.

Drawing on theories of critical literacy and critical pedagogy, CIL offers teaching librarians a way to move beyond traditional concepts of information literacy as training in research competencies. Many conversations on CIL take place virtually, through sites such as,but a growing body of published literature allows for wider engagement with critical information literacy in practice.

Building on the critical librarianship panel session, Annie Downey (Reed College), author of “Critical Information Literacy: Foundations, Inspirations, and Ideas” (2016) will provide an overview of CIL concepts that focus on theory, action, and reflection. Erin Conor, will discuss how she has incorporated CIL into her music library instruction. Attendees will gain insight into the significance of this importance new movement in information literacy and will leave with practical ideas for implementing CIL in music classes at their own institutions. There will be time for questions, conversation, and discussion with the session attendees.

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