Monday, July 5, 2010

Transliteracy: Our Freedom Depends on It

Happy Fourth of July from my farm here in Wood County,WV. My Internet connection has been very spotty today, so I have not had the best connection with my PLN. However, a few tweets have been coming through and from them I can see that many of us are deeply affected by what this day means, even if it means different things to different people.  Many of us see this as a day to honor our troops. Some see it as a day of family get-togethers and picnics. I prefer to think of this as the day our liberties were born.

In this post I would like to discuss the basis of our freedom and the responsibilities we must assume to maintain our freedom.  The Constitution assures us of certain rights but does not tell us how to insure these.

To maintain our freedom, I believe we all must be critical consumers of information. Transliteracy is required of all of us to make sense of the wealth of information and misinformation available to us. We all must be critical viewers, readers listeners - cynics,even - to sort through the trash and arrive at the truth.

We must become more adept at finding and analyzing primary sources of information.  By the time most of us receive our news, it has been analyzed and edited and repackaged several times. Sometimes it is really hard to get at the truth.  So where do we begin?

I suggest libraries of all types - but most especially public libraries - as starting places to delve into the origins of the news. But before we leave home or log on, we must first adopt a critical stance about any and all information we are to receive.

Libraries of all sorts must take the lead in helping citizens bridge the multiple literacies and interpret their findings.  Many libraries and librarians already have adopted this charge.  For me, as an elementary librarian, this means I must help and encourage children to question all forms of media. I will be but one of many foot soldiers in the necessary war for our continued freedom.

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