Librarians' perspectives on digital literacy in Irish third level education

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Watters, Dean
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MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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Digital literacy has emerged as a key concept in recent years in Irish third level education. Calls by the Irish government to promote and expand digital literacy have been plentiful, with many academic institutions taking note. Digital literacy has been a fundamental aspect of librarianship for many years now, however, there has been little attention given to librarians on the subject by third level educational institutions in Ireland. As a result, librarians have had relatively little involvement in promoting digital literacy in contemporary Irish education. Therefore, this dissertation examines librarian’s perspectives on digital literacy in third level education in an Irish context. It investigates what digital literacy means to librarians, their opinions on how it should be instructed, the challenges digital literacy faces in third level institutions, and the potential opportunities afforded by the literacy for the field of librarianship. The findings of this dissertation surmise that whilst librarians have a firm grasp on the salient characteristics of digital literacy, and recognise the potential opportunities of the concept, instruction on the behalf of academic libraries is often fragmented and inconsistent. This is due to a number of challenges, such as institutional buy-in, and negative perceptions of librarians. The study concludes that digital literacy in third level education can be improved by librarians through increased collaboration with institutions, and a calculated, strategic plan for digital literacy instruction.