The first exposure I had to blogging was several years ago when Dr. Deborah van Tuyll in Augusta State’s Department of Communications & Professional Writing and I were collaborating on the syllabus for an Honors 4900 course we taught together: In the Lair of the Skull: Alternative Literacies in the Digital Age. Our students were given an assignment to create a personal blog to be used throughout the semester to journal their reactions to “alternative literacy” experiences.
I appreciate being given the opportunity by Autumn Johnson, Reese Library’s User Engagement Librarian, to blog some thoughts on the information literacy standards and performance indicators that academic libraries use to develop instructional programs. These educational experiences are designed to help students succeed in college and in life. Much of what I have learned about information literacy in recent years I owe to Camilla Baker, Reese’s Coordinator of Library Instruction. A big “thank you” to her for excellent contributions to the university’s library instruction program.
The Association of College and Research Libraries has developed five standards and twenty-two associated performance indicators which can be used to assess the information literacy of students. These can be found at http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency
These standards are used internationally. In fact they have been translated into Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Slovenian, and Spanish. There are also specific information literacy standards for many academic disciplines including anthropology and sociology, art (visual literacy), journalism, political science, psychology, science and technology, and teacher education.
The five critical information literacy standards for successful students are:
v The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
v The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
v The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
v The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
v The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and uses information ethically and legally.
The infusion of information literacy concepts and skills is essential in undergraduate programs because students come to college with a wide variety of experiences and from diverse backgrounds. Also, we see a significant number of students who are older than the traditional college-age student. Development of information literacy skills is uneven before students reach college. They are often introduced to students in the K-8 environment, but drop off as the students reach high school. There are no state or federal-mandated standards, so information literacy training depends on the individual school or school district.
Even though most students have some facility with computer applications and equipment, they are not consistently schooled in the five information literacy standards above. It is important for academic faculty, library faculty, and technology managers to collaborate in order to graduate information literate students. The faculty of Reese Library are continually looking for opportunities for collaboration across departments to support information literacy instruction, with the result of seeing students successfully complete assignments and research projects, graduate, and remain lifelong learners.
To learn more about possible areas of collaboration in the classroom or about Reese Library’s two-hour credit course, ILIT 1500 Introduction to Information Literacy, please contact Camilla Baker at email@example.com 706-667-4908.
Camilla Reid (the other Reese Library “Camilla”)