In this global Information Age, information literacy/competency is essential for success, both in college and throughout life.
The definition of information literacy/competency that guides academic librarianship is provided by the American Library Association (ALA)--Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). They define information literacy/competency as a set of abilities to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” This definition is further specified by a set of competency standards that emphasize five key skills. A person who is information literate:
“Information competency is the ability to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in all its various formats. It combines aspects of library literacy, research methods, and technological literacy. Information competency includes consideration of the ethical and legal implications of information and requires the application of both critical thinking and communication skills.”
This same document lists the skills that students must be able to demonstrate in an integrated process in order to be considered information competent:
According to ALA/ACRL, “information literacy is a hot new term in the higher education lexicon,” but is not a new concept. “The idea of resource-based education is an old one and librarians have been involved in teaching the effective use of information resources for over a century under the labels library instruction, bibliographic instruction and library skills.”
The related term “information skills” was first introduced in 1974 by Paul Zurkowski to refer to people who are able to solve their information problems by using relevant information sources and applying relevant technology. But the concept of “information literacy” was introduced with the establishment in 1989 of the American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. They determined that information literacy is a critical skill for student success in this Information Age.
It differs from the traditional library instruction in that it involves a collaborative effort between librarians, computer science, and other classroom faculty. It also focuses on the learner, rather than on the teacher, and on teaching lifelong skills rather than on teaching specific function of various library resources.
The two following websites provide information on discussions and outcomes regarding information competency with California Higher Education groups.
Library A100, Library Research and Information Competency, is a three-unit, GE, transferable, online class that supports information competency and fosters independent, lifelong learning. It is also offered as an Honors course.
Library A 103, College Research Skills, is a one-unit, transferable, online class that develops research skills for college, the workplace, and life.
For more information about these classes, contact Erin Gratz, Instruction and Outreach Librarian at e-mail: email@example.com