26 October 2023

Nurturing Library Literacy in the AI Era

By Roswita Rawi and Dollyrissia Lainers Debra

In today’s rapidly evolving world driven by technology, the significance of library literacy cannot be overstated.

Swinburne Sarawak Library

This is particularly true for university students. As we navigate the complexities of the artificial intelligence (AI) era, the role of libraries in nurturing library literacy becomes increasingly vital.

Academic Literacy and the Digital Age

In the age of AI, where information is abundant and easily accessible, the ability to critically analyse and synthesise knowledge is more essential than ever. Students empower themselves by mastering library literacy. This includes locating, evaluating, and effectively using information. Academic libraries serve as gateways to vast repositories of information. These help equip students with the tools to navigate the information landscape adeptly and differentiate between credible sources and misinformation.  

Library academic literacy plays a pivotal role in enhancing students’ study and research endeavours. It equips students with the skills to efficiently mine scholarly databases, discern relevant research articles, and extract pertinent information. This, in turn, expedites their learning process and contributes to the quality of their academic output.

Digital Age and Academic Integrity

The digital age has made it easier than ever to access and refocus the work of others. However, it has also brought to the forefront the issue of academic integrity. Proper citation and attribution are essential for acknowledging the intellectual contributions of others and avoiding plagiarism. Libraries play a key role in educating students about these ethical considerations. It ensures that students understand the importance of integrity in their academic journey.

Amidst the rise of AI and automation, the human aspect of librarianship remains invaluable. Librarians are not just custodians of books and digital resources. They also guide students through the vast sea of information.

Librarians possess expertise in curating resources, assisting in research, and offering personalised guidance that algorithms cannot replicate. Librarians foster a learning environment where students can seek guidance, clarification, and recommendations, adding a human touch to the AI-driven landscape.

Nurturing well-rounded individuals in the AI era requires academic library services to incorporate digital literacy with a human touch. While AI can efficiently provide information, it lacks the ability to instil empathy, ethics, and critical thinking. This is where libraries can position themselves to support media literacy in this age of misinformation. This is possible by equipping and empowering students with fact-checking techniques and media knowledge.

Swinburne Sarawak Library

At Swinburne Sarawak, the library promotes digital literacy through the Library Online Modules via Canvas. It helps educate students to recognise reliable and accurate information, master search techniques, hone their research abilities, make the most of library resources, and take a more active role in guiding students’ learning journeys.

Library literacy remains an indispensable cornerstone in the AI era for university students. It enables them to effectively harness the power of information, encourages academic integrity, and imparts crucial skills for judgment and critical analysis.

While technology continues to advance, librarians’ role as guides adds the necessary human element for holistic learning. By integrating digital literacy and the humanities into our service, libraries contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals who can navigate the AI landscape with ethical awareness and intellectual insights.

As we embrace the future, the fusion of technology and humanity within academic library services is paramount to shaping informed and responsible global citizens.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. Roswita Rawi is the Information Resources Executive of Swinburne Sarawak Library while Dollyrissia Lainers Debra is the Administrative Executive, Higher Degree Research, School of Research. They are contactable at rrawi@swinburne.edu.my and dlainers@swinburne.edu.my .