Ability to access information is not the same as the ability to evaluate, synthesise and reference it, especially in this age of post-truth, alternative facts and information obesity. Academic libraries have already shifted their focus from being repositories of paper-based information to becoming services which facilitate access to digital content, whether that access is to the University’s own digital assets, or third party publications. Libraries are more than that, though. They have also become the focal point for advice on working within a complex information landscape, helping students progress from being told what to read (the resource list) towards being truly independent learners where they construct their own bibliography. Library staff already help students develop the academic skills to use information with integrity (saving academic staff a lot of time in the process!). As publishing models adjust to increasingly favour open access scholarship, and technology makes access to information easier, the academic literacies which sit around the use of information will become correspondingly even more important to student success by 2026, especially if the curriculum centres around enquiry based learning rather than developing factual recall?
Information literacy is a lifelong skill closely connected with digital literacy. How we continue to meet the needs of employers across these important skills sets will remain and probably grow as an area requiring further research.