New technology has greatly expanded both the volume of information and the means by which it is accessed. With such an enormous quantity of data available, the ability to find, critically evaluate, and communicate information becomes absolutely necessary in order to select reliable sources. Students may erroneously believe that locating accurate relevant information is only a matter of typing a word or two in the Google search box.
However, information literacy goes beyond knowing how to use the technology connecting one to information. Faculty are all too aware of this behavior and its results. Finding high-quality information is now more difficult than ever, not easier or quicker.
There is a lifelong need for being informed and up-to-date. In a rapidly changing world where today's graduates may have multiple careers, they must become resourceful learners who can adapt through their own ability to "learn how to learn." 1 Information literacy is a means to personal empowerment. 2 It is not difficult to see that graduates with fine-tuned information literacy proficiencies are much more attractive job candidates who will make contributions as adaptable, resourceful and valuable employees and citizens.
The importance of information literacy has been recognized by accrediting bodies and has become a requirement of the accreditation process and a measure of an institution's performance. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) is a leader in developing and promoting information literacy guidelines and standards. Information literacy is now an important part of MSCHE's Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education (Rev. 2009).
In 2003, Middle States published Developing Research and Communication Skills: Guidelines for Information Literacy in the Curriculum which discusses how to plan an information literacy initiative, what kinds of learning goals and teaching strategies are needed, and the process of assessment.3 It offers guidelines that demonstrate how IL has relevance for faculty, librarians, students, administrators, and the institution as a whole. 4 As a consequence of the growing importance of information literacy, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), in concert with Middle States, developed a set of performance standards, each comprised of multiple skills, that define an information literate college graduate.
A number of specialized accrediting agencies also emphasize information literacy in at least one of their standards, including NCATE, ACEJMC, and ABET, APA and ACS.
Iona College Libraries' Information Literacy Program supports the research goals of the academic curricula and helps equip our students with the information and skills needed to become effective members of an increasingly complex society. Information literacy is an integral part of the mission statements of both the college and the library. According to Iona College's Mission Statement, "Iona College graduates will be sought after because they will be..."lifelong learners skilled in and adaptable to new information and technologies" and "ethical and skilled decision-makers and problem-solvers." The Iona College Libraries Mission Statement reflects and supports the College's mission by providing resources and services that "promote critical thinking, information literacy and lifelong learning."
Thus far, the Library has worked to promote IL by
The Information Literacy Work Group was created to promote and assist in the development and implementation of IL objectives college-wide. Contact Callie Bergeris at (914) 633-2227 or other IL Working Group member, Adrienne Franco at (914) 633-2348 with questions, comments, or suggestions.
1. Philadelphia University - Why is Information Literacy so important?
2. Stauffer Library Information Literacy
3. Rockman, I. (2003). What do accreditation agencies say about information literacy? Long Beach, CA: The California State University, Office of the Chancellor. Retrieved August 29, 2006.