According to the American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (1989), the information literate person is, “able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use it effectively.” The Association of College and Research Libraries further defines an information literate individual as being able to:
- Determine the extent of information needed.
- Access the needed information effectively and efficiently.
- Evaluate information and its sources critically.
- Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base.
- Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.
Information literacy is a survival skill in this Information Age as well as a potential empowerment tool. To successfully function in an information-rich culture, students must also be proficient in the use of rapidly changing and ever growing technology and concepts.
The high tech academic library environment can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience for students. Despite what students might think and tell their instructors, most students do not navigate well in a college library. Although most students know how to “Surf the Net,” this is far from performing college-level research. Most high schools do not prepare students for the research skills they will need in college.
Developing information literacy skills is a structured and progressive process and is not something that can be learned in a one shot session. Because a standalone information literacy course is not offered at the college, the JSRCC Libraries strongly recommend that instructors collaborate with our librarians to integrate information literacy throughout the curriculum. Our librarians will work with you to tailor instruction to a particular assignment as well as help you develop effective research assignments for your students throughout their time at JSRCC.
To get an idea of the skills our librarians can cover during instruction sessions or skills that can be incorporated into research assignments, take a look at our information literacy model, Guide to Research at JSRCC Libraries.
The main goal of integrating information literacy into the curriculum is to improve the quality of your students’ research papers and projects. Let’s work together in helping our students become information literate and develop the skills they will need to help them think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions throughout their lives.