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Information Literacy Program

Introduction: Our Mission

The librarians' goal is to assist students with their research and help them cultivate information literacy skills.  These skills contribute to the ability to think critically and are vital for lifelong learning. In the process, we collaborate with faculty to engage students with inquiry-based assignments that prepare students to seek and use information wisely and effectively in their academic, professional, and personal lives. We teach and develop information literacy through the Information Literacy Program in the following ways:

  • By collaborating and partnering with our colleagues from all departments and offices to integrate information literacy into academic programs.
  • By promoting the use of library resources in all formats.
  • By providing instruction formally or informally, in-person, or via technology.
  • By evaluating the effectiveness of our approaches and constantly renewing our own skills.

Information Literacy Learning Outcome

Geisel Library assisted with the drafting of an information literacy learning outcome that was reviewed and adopted by Saint Anselm College as a college-wide learning objective in Fall 2012.  This outcome will serve as a guideline for faculty seeking to address information literacy as a learning objective in their courses.  Here is the text of the learning outcome:

Goals and Objectives

Information literacy is defined as an integrated ability to find, evaluate, and utilize relevant scholarly and other resources, and to maintain high standards of academic integrity.  Courses or assignments that promote information literacy should foster an appreciation for the complexity of the modern information environment; cultivate an understanding of how to effectively search for a wide range of relevant, high-quality information sources; and develop in students the ability to critically evaluate sources whenever seeking information to address an academic or personal need.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Formulate a well-defined research question with a manageable focus, and articulate the information needed to address it.
  2. Develop an effective strategy for seeking the needed information, and retrieve information from appropriate, relevant sources in an efficient manner.
  3. Evaluate information and its sources for issues like reliability and bias, as well as potential shortcomings such as flawed reasoning or methodological weakness.
  4. Synthesize the information to construct new ideas that address the initial research question, and communicate the information clearly and effectively.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues and social context related to information, including the importance of avoiding plagiarism and documenting sources appropriately.

Other Perspectives on Information Literacy

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, produced a document that was seminal in defining information literacy.  According to the ACRL, information literacy is a set of competencies enabling individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, access, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education). ACRL has also overseen the development of information literacy standards in specific disciplines.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is charged with accrediting institutions of higher learning in the New England region.  Several of its Standards for Accreditation (4.7, 4.19, 7.9, and 7.10) specify that graduates successfully completing an undergraduate program should demonstrate competencies in the realm of information literacy.

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