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Information Literacy as a Civic Responsibility: Civic Responsibilities

A corresponding guide to the convo talk "Information Literacy as a Civic Responsbility", presented in September 2020 by Ryan Flynn '15, Director of Community-Engaged Learning, and Elora Agsten, Instructional Librarian.

Civic Responsibility

Civic responsibility means active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good.*

*Definition from: Tennessee State University, "Defining Citizenship and Civic Engagement", adapted from A Practical Guide for Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum, Karla Gottlieb and Gail Robinson, editors, 2002

Activity: Tell us your thoughts!

What do you think of when you think of civic responsibility? Choose the one you feel most strongly about.
Voting: 1 votes (50%)
Staying up to date on current events: 0 votes (0%)
Understanding local issues: 0 votes (0%)
Community service: 1 votes (50%)
Understanding the law and goverment: 0 votes (0%)
Volunteering: 0 votes (0%)
None of the above: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 2

Online Community

Much of our lives are now lived online. Whether that's in our current mode of online classes or through social media sites, much of our time is spent engaging with others on the Internet. However, the internet allows us to share information quickly and, often, without checking if it can be trusted or verified. 

In the Internet Age, being able to find verifiable information and being informed participants in our democracy is more critical now than ever! It is important to understand how to find the best information possible to learn about the issues and concerns that face our society and avoid spreading false information. 


Traits of Civic Responsibility

Civic responsibility consists of many factors. While at its core, civic participation calls for involvement in the public life of a community, this can extend into many ideas. This list is adapted from "Defining Citizenship and Civic Engagement" from Tennessee State University: 

  • Addressing society's problems in an informed manner.
  • Showing respect as well as dissent for laws.
  • Understanding the concept of the common good and who defines it.
  • Involving the community in decision-making processes.
  • Embracing the concept of participatory democracy.
  • Questioning governmental policies and practices.
  • Determining ways to alter public policy.
  • Recognizing the value and human dignity of each person.
  • Reaching varying degrees of political awareness and advocacy, ranging from basic knowledge (e.g., knowing the local mayor's name) to developing a voice and making oneself heard