Skip to main content

Library Instructions: Information Literacy

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. The Association of College and Research Libraries outlined five standards that today's students would need to succeed in school and their career.

An information literate student has the ability to:

  • Determine the nature and extent of information needed
  • Access needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base and value system
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information

Why is Information Literacy relevant?

In the last ten years, print, media and electronic resources have grown exponentially. New technologies have changed the way we access information, work and live. Now it is much easier to access all kinds of information instantaneously. However, knowing how and where to find reliable information can be difficult. Seeking information effectively and efficiently is a learned skill that is developed through practice. By teaching our students these skills, we enable them to become confident researchers and independent life-long learners.

How do I teach Information Literacy?

Incorporating a few assignments into the course curriculum can do much to improve students' information seeking and critical thinking skills. Existing assignments can be revised to incorporate information literacy skills without compromising one's time devoted to teaching course content.

Citation

Sample Assignement

Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

Objective:

Once information is gathered and organized, the information is used for a specific purpose.


Students learns how to evaluate and synthesize information to create a product of their own.

Methodology:

  • Students are assigned to create a two-page newsletter on a topic of their choice.
  • Students identify the newsletter's target audience and what they want to communicate to readers.
  • Students gather and organize information for the newsletter.
  • The information gathered must include six of any of the following sources: personal interview, periodical article, book, reference source, video or audio files.
  • Students create a newsletter using MS Word, Publisher (or a wiki, website or myspace entry) on the topic.