Information Literacy Instruction

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What is Information Literacy?

According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), "information literacy is the 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."

The purpose of the John Stewart Memorial Library’s Information Literacy program is to support the teaching and learning process by providing students with the necessary information literacy skills to be effective critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

The library staff believes that both the 2000 Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education and the 2015 Framework for Information Literacy serve a valuable purpose in the development of information literacy skills as well as the critical pursuit of lifelong learning. The early standards illustrate the specific information literacy skills we want to impart to our students; while the more recent framework demonstrates how specific information literacy concepts relate to today’s complicated and ever-changing world of information. 

Why is Information Literacy Important?

Information is everywhere!  Information still comes in traditional forms - books, newspapers, magazines, and journal articles.  In today's world, information is also found in things like websites, blogs, podcasts, tweets, memes, and YouTube videos.  Knowing how to find information can be easy, but knowing how to find the right information can be more challenging.

Developing good information literacy skills will help students find appropriate and credible sources for research assignments.  Strong information literacy skills will positively contribute to student success.  But, that's not all.  Cultivating the skills needed to effectively find, evaluate, and use information will prepare students to answer all kinds of questions they might need to answer throughout their lifetime.  

Information Literacy Plan

The librarians are committed to integrating information literacy instruction into the following courses, which serve as foundational programs for Wilson College’s liberal arts education. 

First Year Seminar

  • ​​​​​​​Early in each semester, personal librarians deliver an introduction to the library and research process presentation to all sections of First Year Seminar. This orientation serves as the initial contact between the students and their personal librarian. 
  • ​​​​​​​All FYS students are required to meet individually with their personal librarian at least once during their First Year Seminar experience. In these meetings, librarians show students how to navigate the library’s website as well as provide an introduction to using the library databases to find books and articles for their FYS research assignments. 
  • ​​​​​​​Students will complete an information literacy skills assessment which will be administered by the instructors during the last week of class. The assessment takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

Introductory English Courses

  • A brief overview of both library services and Academic Success Center services is included in all English 108, 115, and 185 courses.
  • ​​​​​​​These presentations, dubbed promotional outreach visits, are given jointly by a member of the library and the Academic Success Center staff.
  • The presentations serve as another point of contact to encourage students to use library and Academic Success Center services.

​​​​​​​Introduction to Computer Science (CS 110)

  • A library presentation or library module (depending on the modality of the course) is included in all sections of CS110 each semester.
  • ​​​​​​​Since this is a computer science course, the library presentation encourages students to learn and use various library databases just as they learn how to effectively use other technology tools in the course.
  • ​​​​​​​The presentation includes information on evaluating websites and the differences between library databases and Google.

​​​​​​​Senior Experiences

  • The librarians meet with students who are currently working on the culminating project for their specific majors.
  • ​​​​​​​The librarians collaborate with faculty to integrate information literacy instruction into junior or senior research seminars in all disciplines.

This is a brief overview of the John Stewart Memorial Library information literacy plan.  The current Information Literacy Plan is here: PDF iconInformation Literacy Plan 2021-2024.pdf

Information Literacy Instruction

The librarians encourage the integration of information literacy instruction into both undergraduate and graduate courses in all disciplines wherever possible. This gives librarians and faculty the opportunity to work together to build a library instruction session that contains appropriate information literacy skills as well as introduces students to the relevant library resources for a particular assignment. Librarians are committed to promoting student success by collaborating with faculty to help students reach assignment goals. 

Options for Course-Integrated Information Literacy Instruction

Instruction Methods:

  • Traditional library instruction. These instruction sessions take place during class time and can be tailored to the time allotted. Instruction sessions are usually designed around a specific research assignment or information literacy skill. Librarians will work with faculty to make sure that instruction session lesson plans reflect assignment goals and adhere to assignment guidelines. 
  • Guided instruction. These instruction sessions do not have to include formal lecture-based instruction. The idea with this type of instruction is that students can get started on their research with a librarian in the room to help as needed. 
  • ​​​​​​​Research paper consultations. These consultations are designed to take place outside of class time. In these meetings librarians will work with students individually on their research topics. Librarians can work with faculty to set up “librarian office hours” or have students contact them for appointments. Appointments can be conducted via Zoom for distance learning students as well as for students who prefer the convenience of connecting virtually. 
  • Online information literacy instruction. Librarians can provide both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. They are able to offer library instruction in real time via Zoom. For asynchronous courses, librarians are able to create videos that demonstrate relevant information literacy skills and show students appropriate library resources for their specific research assignments. Links will be provided so that videos can be directly uploaded in Canvas courses. 
  • ​​​​​​​Embedded librarian services. In addition to library instruction, which typically occurs at 1 or 2 points through the semester, librarians can work directly with the course instructor to provide on-going research and library support throughout the entire semester.

Please fill out the Instruction Request Form if you'd like a librarian to provide your students with Information Literacy Instruction.

Information Literacy Services for Faculty Teaching Online Courses

Librarians are able to provide a number of services and access to a variety of library resources for faculty teaching online courses.  Librarians can:

  • create and provide links to library database tutorials
  • develop handouts that connect students with the appropriate library resources for their research assignments
  • provide live library instruction to students in your class via Zoom conferencing. The Zoom meeting can be recorded if you'd like.

Links to tutorials, handouts, and other relevant library materials can easily be added to your Canvas courses so that students can easily find the information they need to successfully complete their research assignments.




Library and Research Help for Students in Canvas Courses

Faculty can help their students succeed in online courses by:

  • encouraging students to use provided links to library resources in Canvas
  • suggesting that students take advantage of individualized research help. Research paper consultations can be provided to online students via email, phone, or Zoom conferencing
  • reminding students that every student at Wilson College has access to a Personal Librarian

Links to library tutorials and other resources for students can be found in the Faculty & Staff Technology & Library Resources page in Canvas.  If this page is not available on your dashboard in Canvas, please reach out to a member of the library staff.

Both faculty and students can use the Ask a Librarian form to ask library and research related questions and one of the librarians will get back to you!