Visual Literacy to Visual Learning: Helping our Faculty and Students Transition to Learning in a Visual Environment


Students learn and live in a visual environment through technology and media intervention. Our poster will address the discrepancy between visual texts freely available in everyday life, and the reliance upon the printed word as predominant text for analysis in educational institutions. The objectives of visual literacy should be inherent in strong information literacy programs. In the attempt to encourage students and faculty to “use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose,” we must address the gaps in critical enquiry of multiple and variable texts.

Our poster, Visual Literacy to Visual Learning will attempt to map the goals of Visual Literacy to the tenets of Information Literacy. We will show their theoretical development historically, and advocate their future use in the library and classroom. Librarians may offer federated searching that returns information in a variety of texts, but must also strongly advocate that these texts enter into teaching. We will attempt to turn theory into practice, offering some suggestions to promote engagement with visual texts.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Readers will learn about the history of Visual Literacy and its relationship to Visual Culture and Visual Studies.

  • Visual literacy initiatives should be done at the discipline level, rather than an overall program.

  • Librarians can approach visual literacy in small, but effective ways.
  • Presenters:

    Sarah E. Falls, M.A., M.S.L.S.
    Visual Resources Librarian
    Department of Art and Art History
    University of Richmond

    Olivia Reinauer, M.S.L.S.
    Social Sciences Librarian
    University Libraries
    Boatwright Memorial Library
    University of Richmond



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