Gov. Murphy signs bipartisan legislation establishing information literacy education

Gov. Phil Murphy signed S-588 on Jan. 4, which requires instruction on information literacy for grades K-12 through the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. With primary bill sponsors Sens. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) and Michael Testa (R-Cape May), and Assemblymembers Daniel Benson (D-Mercer), Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) and Mila Jasey (D-Essex), the bill passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 68-8-4 in the Assembly.  

S-588 directs the State Board of Education to adopt New Jersey Student Learning Standards in information literacy. The content in the standards will include: 

  •    The research process and how information is created and produced. 
  •    Critical thinking and using information resources. 
  •    Research methods, including the difference between primary and secondary sources. 
  •    The difference between facts, points of view and opinion. 
  •    Accessing peer-reviewed print and digital library resources. 
  •    The economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information. 
  •    The ethical production of information. 

 “A primary role of our public schools is to prepare students to be informed, engaged participants in our American democracy,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller. “At a time when misinformation and disinformation are eroding the foundations of that democracy, it is imperative that students have the tools they need to determine what information they can trust. This law will help ensure that New Jersey students are equipped to separate fact from fiction as they prepare for their role as citizens and future leaders.” 

The bill requires the commissioner of education to convene a committee, including certified school library media specialists and teaching staff members, to assist in developing the information literacy standards. 

 “The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) applauds Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for bringing to light the need for Information Literacy in education,” said NJASL President Ewa Dziedzic-Elliott. “Adding Information Literacy to the current New Jersey Student Learning Standards gives strength to the need for the instruction and implementation of Information Literacy.” 

NJASL and the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) have worked with a coalition of statewide partners to see this legislation to fruition since 2016. NJASL credits NJLA with originating the legislation. The coalition included NJEA, EveryLibrary, Media Literacy Now, Garden State Coalition of Schools, Save Our Schools NJ, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, New Jersey Association of School Administrators, New Jersey School Boards Association, Computer Science For New Jersey Coalition, and the New Jersey State School Nurses Association.