The purpose of this paper is to introduce a Knowledge Lens for information literacy. This lens shifts the focus and potential outcomes of information literacy in three ways. First, it promotes self-reflection as a means of integrating information. Second, it promotes creation, emphasizing it as a social process. Third, it promotes the ability and value of working with imprecision and lack of direction.
The author designed a Community of Practice (CoP) with a loosely structured guidebook to operationalize the Knowledge Lens. The initial stated purpose of the CoP was to provide innovative solutions to issues of race relations in South Carolina. A group of 19 participants – representing four churches – met twice a month for one year. After one year, a core group of 6 participants were interviewed to identify elements of this new lens.
Participants indicated that they changed in many ways after the CoP, suggesting that the Knowledge Lens increases the impact of literacy work. In particular, they were able to utilize internal tension to spark innovation, found value in direct engagement with one another without the need to first codify their thinking, and increased their reliance on information encountering.
Information literacy has attempted to move beyond stale concepts, and the Knowledge Lens facilitates this movement. It takes information literacy beyond the mere provision of access to existing information. It recognizes barriers to information integration. And it involves individuals in co-creation to solve problems that lack an existing codified solution.
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