This is an issue not just relegated to us library folks. There is a recent article in the Chronicle of Education that touches on this topic, and multiple books on the subject including the recent, Academically Adrift. Like the authors of these works I conclude that now it is an especially important moment to be encouraging critical engagement and challenging our students to let go of the banking system of education. Elmborg maintains that "democratic in impulse, critical literacy seeks to empower rather than discipline". Promoting democracy and lifelong learning are certainly important tasks to assist in. After some marathon instruction sessions and end of the semester reference transactions where I have to really convince students that they really need to read the materials to see if it applies to their thesis I think it's important to remind ourselves why. Elmborg sums it up best for me, my purpose is to, "encourage
them to grow, develop, and challenge the assumptions they hold as well as
their given place in the world". Drawing on critical literacy, I believe that problem based learning, reflexive teaching, living in the gray instead of the black and white information world, and other active learning strategies are the way to accomplish this.
Of course some things that are outside of the role of the librarian despite our partnerships which my students always remind me. A recent evaluation form response to the question, "What would you like to learn that was not covered today?", read "how to be like charlie sheen and win all the time". That will make you smile!