Libraries have long been recognized as playing a vital role in the development of information literacy skills. According to the 1989 Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, information literacy can be defined as the ability to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." Libraries contribute to the development of these skills in a number of ways: by helping customers search library catalogs for books, find items on shelves using Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress call numbers and locate and evaluate information on the internet, to name a few.
In 2013, the American Library Association Digital Literacy Task Force defined digital literacy as "the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills." Information and digital literacy definitions intersect in the abilities to locate, evaluate and use information. Information literacy is the general concept of locating, evaluating and using information, while digital literacy specifically refers to the ability to do those things in a digital environment.
Digital and information literacy have been identified as crucial to the development of 21st Century Skills, a national initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.