We were at the IFLA WLIC in Wroclaw, Poland last week where the IFLA Information Literacy Section Committee and the IFLA Copyright and other Legal Matters Committee organised an off-site meeting on Wednesday 23rd August entitled Models of Copyright Education in Information Literacy Programs. When I heard about this event I knew I had to be there – copyright and information literacy are my two research interests, and have been for many years before Chris and I undertook the UK Copyright Literacy Survey. This conference was an exciting opportunity for us both to meet international colleagues working in the field of copyright education, to learn about the models and strategies from around the world and to share the experiences of our research.
The event was really well organised, so congratulations to Lisa Hinchliffe from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tomas Lipinski from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Janice T. Pilch at Rutgers University for their hard work. The University of Lower Silesia were an excellent host institution and we’d like to thank Ewa Rozkosz, Director of the Scientific Information Centre who took Chris and I on a brief tour of Wroclaw after the conference. Sheila Webber from the University of Sheffield has written three blog posts on themes from the day including professional education for librarians, librarians teaching faculty and students and her final post on copyright literacy in higher education. Sadly she missed our opening panel, but her three posts give an excellent account of the day. So rather than run through the presentations from the day, this is going to be the first of several blog posts we’ll write and I’d like to start by reflecting on a few themes that I think were particularly significant from the conference.
Secondly many of the speakers, including our panel, focused on the capabilities and qualifications of librarians to teach in the field of copyright. Most librarians aren’t and don’t need to be lawyers, but are new professionals learning enough about copyright to prepare them for their professional lives? Several papers examined how much copyright content features in LIS programmes around the world and the short answer was not enough, and not quite in the right way.
Finally, the way that copyright education relates to other aspects of information literacy was also another underlying theme at the conference. And there was a growing recognition that the way in which you teach people about copyright is extremely important. There is a real value in using critical approaches, or what Chris and I have started to call ‘critical copyright literacy’, recognising that approaches to copyright education are never neutral. Another important question that occurred to me was how to develop those librarians already in the profession who need to provide copyright education – and the role of the institutional copyright officer or copyright librarian. Since these discussions I am reflecting on whether the term officer or librarian is actually appropriate and if the copyright person should be a copyright educator?