Saturday , June 23 2018

Information Literacy in Serbia: Initiatives and Strategies

Gordana Stokić SIMONČIĆ
Library and Information Science Department, Faculty of Philology, Belgrade University
Studentski trg 3, Belgrade 11000, Republic of Serbia

Zeljko VUČKOVIĆ
Faculty of Pedagogy, Novi Sad University
Podgoricka 4, Sombor 25000, Republic of Serbia

Abstract: The general aspiration towards joining the European Union and creating the knowledge society in Serbia involve significant challenges for the Country. One of the most demanding changes that Serbian libraries will be facing consists of implementing information literacy (IL), i.e. citizens that are prepared for lifelong learning in a world that is overloaded with information of all sorts. The essential premise of this paper lies with two convictions of the authors: that, on the one hand, libraries are a natural environment for the development of information literacy, and on the other, information literacy must contribute to the citizens’ quality of living. The paper will offer a general overview of the current status of IL in Serbia, the actors in the IL process, the programs, the initiatives, and, above all, what the role of libraries in this endeavor is.

Keywords: Information literacy, knowledge society, library’s mission, libraries in Serbia, information literacy in Serbia.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Gordana Stokić SIMONČIĆ, Zeljko VUČKOVIĆ, Information Literacy in Serbia: Initiatives and Strategies, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 19 (2), pp. 177-184, 2010.

1. Introduction

Many dilemmas and misunderstandings follow the idea and practice of information literacy which we could justly describe as myths of information literacy. The most widespread include: 1) information literacy is predominantly a technological, not a social or educational phenomenon, 2) information literacy develops on its own, with the spread of information and communications technologies in everyday life, 3) information literacy matters only in formal educational institutions, i.e. school system, and 4) there is a fundamental, qualitative difference between traditional education of users in libraries and information literacy.

On the other pole of these myths stand the authors that justly appeal to the fact that the matter of information literacy is neither easy nor simple, pointing to the numerous paradoxes and aporias of information society. We wallow in information, yet we crave true knowledge. The more new information and communications means are, the less time we spend for speaking to one another and less true communication and sociability we achieve. Contemporary man reads and does research less and less, receiving fulfilment from trivial media and information resources, floating on the surface of things, neglecting the attitude of a researcher and critic of the society in which he lives. Virtual reality appears as a surrogate of real life. In a context like this, libraries must restore their own responsibility and find their place in the information vicious circle.

In Serbia, where the Internet took roots in 1996, which invests slightly over 62 Euro per capita in the development of information technology and in which fewer than two per mill of inhabitants have an ECDL permit, the dilemmas related to information literacy also increase with the uneven development of certain regions, difficulties in restructuring the productive and service sectors, and the slow legal regulation of the still budding and underdeveloped information sector.

This paper will review the basic problems related to the adoption of the information literacy concept in Serbia, and the implications of those issues to Serbian libraries. The essential premise of this paper lies in two convictions of the authors: that, on the one hand, libraries are a natural environment for the development of information literacy, and on the other, information literacy must contribute to the improvement in citizens’ standard of living.

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https://doi.org/10.24846/v19i2y201008