Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.

Why is Information Literacy Important?

It has become increasingly clear that students are in need of skills to filter through the vast amount of information in their lives. Information literacy equips students with the skills they need to be thoughtful and efficient users of information. Information literacy skills also help students become independent, life-long learners by enabling them to analyze and evaluate the information they find.

Integrating Information Literacy into the Classroom

The best way for students to become truly information literate is for information skills and concepts to be integrated into course goals as well as into the University’s curriculum. We invite all faculty and teaching staff to consider implementing an information literacy component in their course to improve student learning.

Librarians are available to meet with faculty and TAs (teaching assistants) to discuss course goals and information literacy skills that can be emphasized in the course. They then collaboratively design the approach that best suits the course goals. For more information on integrating information literacy into the classroom, see course-related instruction. The examples presented below are not “either-or.” Many times a librarian and instructor work together on an assignment, and a librarian will provide an in-class presentation as well as a resource page for the course Web site.

Development of assignments.  In one approach, a librarian and a faculty member or TA can work together to develop assignments that focus on information literacy skills while enhancing the learning of ideas and concepts for the course. Sample assignments may include finding primary source material, finding pro and con opinions, or creating a list of scholarly articles to be included in a bibliography.

Class sessions.  In another approach, a librarian can present a class session to teach students strategies for finding and evaluating information specific to the needs of the course. In preparation for such a class session, the librarian will consult with the faculty member or TA in order to design a class session to meet the course goals and instructional objectives. Instruction is most effective when students are able to immediately apply the material presented and when the presentation is directly tied to a course assignment.

ICON/Web-based resources.  Sometimes the collaboration between faculty member and librarian results in the development of a resource page or LibGuide for the course ICON site that includes links to UI subscription databases and explanations of how to evaluate information found on the Web. A librarian could also provide a brief sample search strategy to help guide students.

Librarians are flexible! We can deliver these presentations in the physical classroom, or virtually. For example, librarians can “Skype in” to the class to present library resources and search strategies, answer students’ questions, and set up one-on-one research consultations on the spot. Librarians also work frequently in the  ICON environment, where they can post pod-casts, short tutorials, LibGuides, or video-clips with relevant content.  Librarians offer online office hours, as well.

Another exciting possibility is that of adding a virtual library component to your class on a regular basis throughout the semester. Virtual or physical presentations can be a consistent part of the class, rather than trying to introduce all the information at once. Please talk with your librarian liaison about adding a custom research component to your classes.

Additional Information

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education from the Association of College and Research Libraries.







last revised: 8/13/2012