The answer to this question is: YES!
I responded to Ms. Bullington's plea by sending an email to Chairman Genachowski. If you would like to add your own email to Genachowski's inbox, I give my full permission to use any part of my email to be used as a guide, or even fully copied. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Chairman Genachowski:
I just read the NY Times May 30, 2012 article entitled “Wasting Time is New Digital Divide in Digital Era.” As an educator, I realize the importance of information and digital literacy. As a librarian of 8 years' experience, I have been trained to teach information literacy skills to people of all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses and levels of education. I collaborate with classroom teachers, instructors and professors to teach lessons in which I incorporate these skills. It is called Literacy Instruction, or sometimes Library Instruction. In these sessions, students are taught about information resources that are available, where to find them, and how to use them. They are also taught how to do research and evaluate sources so that the information they gather is valid. These skills apply to all sources, digital or otherwise. For the digital sources, librarians teach more: how to successfully search in databases and online, how to access digital information through different portals and formats, and computer skills that will help students be more proficient in gaining the information they need. They are even taught how to use basic computer programs like the Microsoft Office Suite. Additionally, they are taught about plagiarism and how to avoid it by proper citation. These are just a few of the things librarians do to teach, promote and support information literacy.
However, the recession has had an enormous impact on all libraries. Many programs have been completely cut; others are being run by volunteers rather than a certified or properly educated librarian; and other programs have lost their assistants, whose job of handling routine procedures freed the librarian to plan with teachers.
I noticed that the FCC is considering “a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.”
Although I applaud the intent of teaching digital literacy skills to our students, I question the expenditure of these funds. Why not instead funnel these funds into library programs to allow trained, certified professionals to teach the skills? We have what is needed, we just need the support to make it happen. Will you provide that support?
I look forward to hearing from you on this vital issue.
Many thanks and all best,
Laura Faatz, MA MLIS
There is also this post in "The Unquiet Librarian" discussing this topic. We need to be vocal and be heard. It appears that not even the ALA is fighting for this one.