HomeWhatsYourStoryHow-Tos › Opinion Column - Sample 1

Opinion Column - Sample 1

Get Smart At Your Montana Library

If you are reading this, you are obviously literate. There's a very good chance you know how to use a computer and, I'd be willing to bet, know the meaning of the words "information overload."

Most of us today are keenly aware of the avalanche of information coming at us from the time we wake up with our favorite morning talk show until we turn off the late-night news. Books, newspapers, professional journals, email from co-workers, and newsletters from community organizations add to the volume of information flooding our lives.

But more information doesn't necessarily mean better. If you read the headlines, you know that opportunities for inaccuracies, exploitation, and deception have grown along with the speed and magnitude of information available to us. Coping with a bewildering amount of information requires a new form of literacy, one that goes beyond the ability to read - something educators refer to as information literacy.

This expanded definition of literacy means more than being able to read or use a computer. It means knowing how to find, evaluate and use the best information from an ever-increasing array of sources.

Noted business leaders and organizational theorists tell us that lifelong learning and the ability to apply new knowledge in a changing world is the first, most important thing for career and life success. But information literacy is more than just theory. It is a critical skill in today's information jungle.

Good decisions depend on good information. Information literate people know how to find quality information that will help them through family, medical, or job crises. They know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, the true from the untrue, the fact from the rumor.

As a nation, we have focused our energies on maximizing the availability of new technology. The time has come to expand that vision. Montana libraries recognize that having an Internet connection is not enough. Montanans must be information smart and thus, your local Montana library is working to build information literate communities, where people of all ages have both the resources and skills they need to prosper.

Today is a perfect time to visit your local Montana library to discover some of the unique ways that Montana libraries are working to help our citizens, government agencies, and businesses find and sort through the information they need.

From the diverse patron-base we serve to our diverse collections, there are many ways that your local Montana library works hard to best serve Montanans. We know that quality information leads to quality decisions, and that knowledge is a critical resource for the future economic development of Montana and Montanans.

As technologies change and advance, your local Montana library continues to play a unique and central role in information gathering and distribution. Being information smart means knowing when you need help and where to get it. For Montana, the place to start is right down the street - at your local library.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov