Information literacy instruction helps students address the challenges of an information-rich digital age and teaches them to become critical consumers of information, both in school and throughout their lives.
Information Literacy Defined
Information literacy focuses on a wide variety of critical thinking skills that go beyond mere information seeking to help students effectively evaluate information and use it to solve problems, form opinions, and create new knowledge.
Involves the use of information technology to retrieve information and communicate findings to others.
Consists of a “set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.)
Encompasses broader social and cultural issues dealing with the ethical and legal use of information, such as copyright and plagiarism.
While none of these skills are new in and of themselves, by combining them in the context of information literacy we can more effectively address the challenges of an information-rich digital age and teach students to become critical consumers of information, both in school and throughout their lives.
Information Literacy and Arcadia
The teaching of information literacy skills will help support the mission of Arcadia University to “prepare students for a life of scholarship, service, and professional contribution” (Arcadia Mission Statement). Our society is one where information is increasing at an exponential rate. This flood of information is also being delivered through new media formats posing unique challenges to information seekers, such as the challenge of evaluation. Solving problems is a life skill involving being able to collect and evaluate information to make an informed decision. This critical thinking skill is important for success in a career, for informed citizenship, and lifelong learning.
Desired Information Literacy Program Model
According to Middle States, a successful information literacy program is one where faculty and librarians collaborate to integrate information literacy outcomes throughout all levels of the curriculum and throughout all disciplines. Outcomes are created for each level and tied to course material to increase relevancy and allow for progressive stages of learning (Middle States Guidelines for Developing Research & Communications Skills ).
Areas of Focus in the Arcadia Curriculum
To integrate information literacy into the curriculum, the library focuses on reaching out to the following curricular elements.
First Year Seminar
We partner with faculty to provide classroom instruction, schedule one-on-one research appointments with students, and work to assess our outreach and instruction efforts.
The library is also working hard to address the unique needs of specific groups of students, such as international students and graduate students.