Information literacy

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. Information literacy has relevance for democracy and active citizenship and is something which happens or needs to happen outside of formal education and throughout an individual’s lifetime as well as within educational institutions. Our members are key participants in information literacy across all sectors of the profession

The skills that are required to be information literate call for an understanding of:

  • A need for information
  • The resources available
  • How to find information
  • The need to evaluate information
  • How to work with or exploit results
  • Ethics and responsibility of use
  • How to communicate or share your findings
  • How to manage your findings

The definition was approved by CILIP's Council in 2004. A new definition of information literacy was launched in April 2018.

As well as knowing the need for information and knowing how and where to find it to be information literate individuals also need to understand the social, economic and ethical use of information. In an online environment information literacy is an interactive process with people more able to add content. This proactive and creative aspect of information literacy needs to be acknowledged across various government agendas.

Information literacy skills

This document outlines the skills required to be information literate and gives examples of the activities and behaviour that would demonstrate this. This documents supports CILIP's definition of information literacy and is currently under review by the CILIP Information literacy group.

Information literacy skills

Information Literacy Statement

CILIP endorsed the Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy in 2011. In doing so we accept the vision outlined in the proclamation as CILIP's statement on information literacy.

Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy

The Alexandria Proclamation states that information literacy lies at the core of lifelong learning. It believes information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. The proclamation goes further in that it believes that information literacy is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations.

In affirming this vision CILIP seeks:

  • To promote fair and equitable access to quality information necessary to support people in making life choices
  • To ensure that the library and information workforce has the skills and knowledge to teach and promote information literacy
  • To advocate the value of information literacy within Government and all economic sectors; private, voluntary, charitable and public
  • To ensure that information literacy has a recognised role in the skills development agenda
  • To campaign for all people to have the opportunity to learn the information skills necessary to be effective in all aspects of their lives
  • To engage with international work on information literacy
  • To work in partnership with other key organisations to deliver this vision