President Barack Obama is calling upon Americans to “dedicate ourselves to increasing information literacy awareness so that all citizens understand its vital importance.”
In doing so, he signed a proclamation that extols the fundamental objectives shared by the News Literacy Project and other news literacy efforts nationwide.
“An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society,” the president said in the proclamation, dated Oct. 1. “I encourage educational and community institutions across the country to help Americans find and evaluate the information they seek, in all its forms.”
He said that “we now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace.”
At same time, he added, “Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information” to help them “separate truth from fiction, signal from noise.”
Educational institutions “must be aware of – and adjust to – these new realities,” he said, noting that such critical thinking skills are especially important for students.
“In addition to the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, it is equally important that our students are given the tools required to take advantage of the information available to them,” he said. “The ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational or technical.”
National Information Literacy Awareness Month is intended to highlight “the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age,” he said.