An Approach for the 21st Century -- American Library Association 1998

The workplace of the present and future demands a new kind of worker. In a global marketplace, data is dispatched in picoseconds and gigabits, and this deluge of information must be sorted, evaluated, and applied. When confronted by such an overload of information, most workers today tend to take the first or most easily accessed information-without any concern for the quality of that information. As a result, such poorly trained workers are costing businesses billions of dollars annually in low productivity, accidents, absenteeism, and poor product quality. There is no question about it: for today’s and tomorrow’s workers, the workplace is going through cataclysmic changes that very few will be prepared to participate in successfully and productively unless they are information literate.

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is the ability to recognize when information is needed to make decisions or to conduct scholarly research, to locate, evaluate and effectively use the needed information to become independent lifelong learners.

Why Information Literacy is Important?

Information Literacy is important because “ Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any decision or task at hand.
American Library Association
Presidential Committee on Information Literacy
Final Report, 1989

Information Literacy Across the Curriculum at Tennessee State University Libraries

  1. The Information Literacy Program Articulates with the Curriculum
    The program emphasizes student-centered learning, concentrates on competencies based on course level, sequences and integrates competencies during the students tenure at the University taking into consideration each student’s level of knowledge.
  2. Information Literacy Program Collaborates with Instructional Faculty
    The program is centered around enhancing student learning and developing lifelong learning skills in close cooperation and communication with the instructional faculty.
  3. The Pedagogy of the Information Literacy Program
    The program utilizes diverse teaching methods with appropriate information technology, interactive and collaborative activities that lead to critical thinking. The program relates information literacy to coursework and real-life experiences.

Expected Outcomes of the Information Literacy Program

The Library expects to provide assistance to students to become productive citizens who are information savvy, and self-directed finders and users of pertinent information throughout their lives. These students will assume control over their learning and “develop a metacognitive approach to learning, making them conscious of the explicit actions required for gathering, analyzing and using information.” ACRL, 2001

In line with the American Library Association Information Literacy Competency Standards, 2000, the students who take Information Literacy courses in the Library will be able to

  • Define and articulate the need for information
  • Identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources of information
  • Consider the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information
  • Re-evaluate the nature and extent of the information needed
  • Select the most appropriate investigative methods or information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information
  • Construct and implement effectively-designed search strategies
  • Retrieve information online or in person using a variety of methods
  • Refine the search strategy if necessary
  • Extract, record and manage the information and its sources
  • Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources
  • Compare new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information
  • Determine whether the initial query should be revised
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose, as an individual or as a member of a group
  • Understand many of the ethical, legal and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology
  • Acknowledge the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance 

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