Monday, May 23, 2005

I just returned from a great conference, WILU 2005 - a Canadian version of LOEX. What an alphabet soup, eh? They're both annual conferences on information literacy--or whatever you call that thing we do when we try to help students and faculty make the most of information resources in their college education. (I'm ambivalent about the phrase, as you can tell from the talk I gave there, but it's currently what is most in use. )

One of the great things about the conference--apart from the interesting presentations on everything from media literacy to GIS--was the warmth of the hosts and the interactions of the 150 attendees. And it made for a terrific crossroads. Shiela Webber and Bill Johnston came over from the UK to talk about their take on information literacy. Canada makes for a great mixing-chamber for North American and UK ideas.

I mentioned how great the planning was - librarians even rose early and painted the canon for us! No, it's not a strange giraffe, it's the "Kaliedoscope" conference theme. Students at Guelph use the canon (pointed always at the President's office) as a form of expression. Gee, reminds me of a certain Gustavus tradition . . .


All in all, a great conference and one I'd recommend to anyone interested in Information Literacy. Next year's will be held at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

One other interesting thing--that relates in a way to the importance of media literacy becoming part of information literacy: during the conference, Canada was going through an amazing political crisis. The Conservative party aligned itself with the separatist Bloc Quebecois and came very close to toppling the goverment. Only the defection of one Convervative member to the Liberal camp and a single tie-breaking vote kept the goverment from falling. Did this make news in the US? A few column inches in the International section of The New York Times, but otherwise barely a peep. Which is, frankly, a sad comment on the state of the news media.


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