Since its emergence in the 1970s, information literacy has developed in theory, practice, and scope. In the United States, librarians, business leaders, and political stakeholders have emphasized that information literacy is essential to an informed twenty-first-century citizenry. But despite the pervading feeling that the subject is important, there is as yet no clearly identifiable public policy on information literacy. Public policy may be defined as governmental action or inaction, decided upon and taken by the public, the state, and other actors. Public policies are usually enacted as the result of sustained effort to place them on the public policy agenda, that is, bring them to the attention of the public, and gain support from critical interest groups, influential individuals, and politicians at different levels of government. The authors contend that information literacy is not yet part of the public agenda. Rather, information literacy is claimed by a relatively narrow group of stakeholders, lacks name recognition and broad-based public support, is not mandated in U.S. primary and secondary education ("K-12"), and therefore remains fundamentally ineffective in implementation. This article considers whether information literacy is a legitimate public interest, and therefore the degree to which it merits a public policy and where such a policy might best be located. However, locating information literacy within education policy, although this seems intuitive, appears to be problematical. The authors discuss how policy options emerge, identify barriers to doing so, and provide recommendations for advancing the critical development and dissemination of information literacy.


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pp. 361-382
Launched on MUSE
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