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Information Literacy and Student Learning


What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy Defined

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 also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it. The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

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. An information literate individual is 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
Source: Association of College and Research Librarians (a division of the American Library Association).



What is the Role of the Foreman Library RE: Info. Literacy?
  • Library User Instruction: Through an integrated series of lessons (designed based on grade of students and extent of their information seeking abilities) we cultivate, in ever greater detail and complexity, the following skills (a) Determine the extent of information needed ("What do I need?") ; (b) Access the needed information effectively and efficiently from multiple formats ("Where can I find what I need?"); and (c) Evaluate information and its sources critically ("Is the information I found any good?"); (d) Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally; (e) practice and review these skills multiple times and for a variety of assignments ("That was fun...let's do it again!")

  • Disciple Specific Lesson Development and Support: Help teachers and students select library resources that fit their information need and/or help construct information seeking and information use lessons based on resources available from the library. We support the following information use skills (a)ncorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base; (b) Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

  • Develop an independent information seeker.



Information Literacy Standards:

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education approved by the Association of College and Research Librarians (a division of the American Library Association. Expanded Literacy Competency Worksheet to plan and develop a formal instructional program of information literacy.


AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner




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