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The Three Pillars of Critical Information Literacy - Prof. Don Simmons Jr.: Introduction


Information Literacy (IL) is central to academic libraries and the institutions they support. This specific set of competencies have become a particular focus since the Internet has changed the way we interact with and use information (Yevelson-Shorsher & Bronstein, 2018). During a period where digital news media is saturated with misinformation and disinformation, and oppressive corporate systems regulate information production, access, and consumption (Gregory & Higgins, 2013), it is essential to encourage students to think critically when navigating the online landscape of information. Critical Information Literacy (CIL) evolved from theories of critical pedagogy; CIL considers the socio-political dimensions of information and production of knowledge by evaluating the systems of power that create, distribute, and receive information (Drabinski & Tewell, 2019). CIL will cultivate a new framework for library instruction and inevitably empower students to interrogate and engage with systems of information.

Due to CIL's fluidity, covering a multitude of intricate topics and subjects, this comprehensive guide will cover three primary content areas -- Misinformation/Disinformaton/Fake News, Algorithmic Bias, and Information Privilege. The one-shot model applies to most instructional librarians. Additionally, the following steps will help infuse CIL content into your respective lesson. Modeling elements of the Anti Defamation League's (ADL) lesson plan structure, this instructional approach will support the continued work to elevate library pedagogy. Through the efforts of myself, Don Simmons Jr., and the amazing librarians at Westchester Community College, we hope this guide can help spark ideas and serve as a supporting template to your current instruction. 


Drabinski, E., & Tewell, E. (2019). Critical information literacy. CUNY Academic Works. viewcontent.cgi?article=1638&context=gc_pubs

Yevelson-Shorsher, Anna, and Jenny Bronstein. “Three Perspectives on Information Literacy in Academia: Talking to Librarians, Faculty, and Students.” College & Research Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries, 2018, 

Gregory, L., & Higgins, S. (2017). Critical Information Literacy in Practice: A Bibliographic Review Essay of Critical Information Literacy, Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, and Critical Literacy for Information Professionals. Communications in Information Literacy, 11(2), 390-403.

Information Literacy & Student Engagement Librarian

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Don Simmons Jr.
Library - Room 118
(914) 606 - 8529

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Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

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