Developing Visual Literacy Skills Through Library Instructions

Developing Visual Literacy Skills Through Library Instructions

Nevzat Özel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4990-1.ch003
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Visual literacy skills have become an inevitable part of life in today's world. Technological innovations leading to new literacy skills have changed traditional ways of communication and made it necessary to learn and understand symbols, pictures, photos, illustrations, diagrams, infographics, pictograms, simulations, graphical interfaces, digitized images, and other visual tools. Therefore, it is very significant to teach individuals about visual literacy skills: the ability to understand, interpret, evaluate, organize, and construct visual information. Infographics are essential tools for learners. One of the most prominent institution to teach visual literacy skills is libraries. Visual tools, strategies, and methods should be applied in library instructions for users to realize these skills. The aim of the chapter is to show the importance of visualization, visual literacy, and infographics and present suggestions regarding how to develop the visual literacy skills of learners by libraries.
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What Is Visual Literacy?

The integration of visuals into today’s teaching and learning environment has been increasing with the help of technology such as computers, laptops, televisions, tablets, and smart phones. Visual literacy, one of the most important competence of the other literacy skills, can enrich and facilitate learning and understanding of information. It deals with the process of recognizing words and messages conveyed via images; for example, pictures, photos, charts, diagrams, graphics, tables, icons, websites, videos, symbols, maps, signs, pictograms, etc. Recently, infographics has come to the fore in this sense.

There is a more common point to be made here about the definition. Visual literacy is, in short, an ability to perceive, comprehend, construe and evaluate visual messages and images. There are numerous definitions as visuals are all around us and used in different disciplines. The first and the most comprehensive definition was made by Debes (as cited in Velders, de Vries and Vaicaityte, 2007, p. 1):

Visual Literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development of these competencies is fundamental to normal human learning. When developed, they enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols, natural or man-made, that he encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is able to communicate with others. Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks of visual communication.

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