Information literacy as a sociocultural practice

This morning, I read the article “Recasting information literacy as a sociocultural practice: implications for library and information science researchers” by Anne Marie Lloyd. In this article, Lloyd suggests that rather than thinking about information literacy (IL) as a skills-based literacy, we should explore how IL can be used to construct meaningful learning in all contexts. This suggestion is based upon the findings of two studies which explore how emergency services officers in New South Wales, Australia use information as part of their training to either act or become a practitioner. The findings of the study helps to explain the way that the relationship with information changes when the learner moves from the epistemic mode of learning (text-based) toward the corporeal and social modalities (information obtained through experience and practical knowledge).

As a relatively new Masters student, this article resonated with me. At present, I am very much learning in the epistemic mode. I do not work in the context of a library or with other librarians and my learning is predominately text based. I often find it difficult to relate to what I am learning as I am learning it out of context. Lloyd suggests that IL learning is a sociocultural process which should not be limited to the epistemic mode only and I can certainly understand why. I wonder how much easier this course is for those who have some contextual understanding upon which to build their knowledge.

Lloyd’s article highlights the importance of teachers and TLs providing not only the epistemic mode of learning but also of providing opportunities for students to learn through the corporeal and social modalities in order to develop a holistic understanding of the concept or topic about which they are learning.


Lloyd, A. (2007).  Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4).

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