In 2009, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring October, National Information Literacy Awareness Month, calling upon all Americans to recognize that “the ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational, or technical…An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society.”
What is Information Literacy?
Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.
Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.
- 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
— from the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, Association of Colleges & Research Libraries (ACRL)
— image from Beloit College Library
How does the library support information literacy?
- Library Instruction – teaching search strategy, how to evaluate sources
- LibGuides – research guides on most subjects and courses
- Get Help – research consultation appointments, chat with a librarian, in-person or phone help
- Archives & Special Collections – finding and working with primary sources