Information literacy is a way of defining, thinking about, and teaching the research process. As such, it is an essential life skill in our information-saturated age. Information literacy is achieved not only through the development of discreet skills and knowledge, such as knowing where one might find information about a topic of interest and acquiring the ability to utilize databases and search strategies to retrieve it, but also in developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills that lead to an active and creative engagement with research and its end products. Defined thus, teaching and learning information literacy is a collaborative effort among classroom faculty, librarians, educational support staff, administrators, and students.
In 2000, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the academic library arm of the American Library Association, published the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. This document provides a detailed model of the research process organized by five standards, each with performance indicators and learning outcomes. In 2001 ACRL brought out the Objectives for Information Literacy Instruction: A Model Statement for Academic Libraries, which includes written objectives for many of the performance indicators and learning outcomes and addresses the professor/librarian collaboration. These and other ACRL information literacy resources may be accessed on their information literacy page.
At USC Upstate, librarians collaborate with classroom faculty in a number of ways to provide information literacy instruction to our students. We have a First-Year Information Literacy Program for our students enrolled in University 101, English 101 and English 102. For other courses, collaboration may take the form of one or more formal library instruction sessions in one of our library computer labs or a smart classroom elsewhere on campus, at the University Center in Greenville, or through closed-circuit television or streaming video via the Internet for distance education classes. We also provide "short sessions" on a single resource or topic, librarian-assisted research periods in the library or your classroom, plagiarism workshops, online course support, assistance with designing library-related assignments and handouts or library guides for specific resources or topics, and instruction in less formal settings: one-on-one conferences in our offices, at the reference desk, and through our Library Guides and web-based Tutorials.
The USC Upstate Library Instruction Program supports the educational mission of the USC Upstate Library by teaching information literacy concepts and skills that facilitate proficiency in the research process and enhance critical thinking. By preparing students to be proficient in these areas, the program also supports the University’s metropolitan mission. Information literacy concepts and skills are necessary for our graduates to participate effectively as responsible citizens in a diverse, global, and knowledge-based society, to pursue excellence in their chosen careers and to continue learning throughout life.
The USC Upstate Library Instruction Program assists USC Upstate students in acquiring and developing information literacy—a core competency that achieves mastery of the research and critical-thinking concepts and skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, evaluate, and use information effectively, efficiently, and ethically. The Library Instruction Program collaborates with classroom faculty and staff as essential partners in teaching information literacy, targets courses and programs for instruction and support to ensure that information literacy is integrated into the curriculum, and generally promotes information literacy throughout the university community.
(Vision and Mission Statements as approved by USC Upstate librarians 21 November 2008)
1. Facilitates student learning of research skills and processes in order to successfully complete coursework and achieve academic success.
2. Targets courses and academic programs for library instruction and support in order to integrate information literacy throughout the curriculum.
3. Collaborates with faculty and staff university-wide in order to ensure a comprehensive and timely approach to teaching information literacy and research skills.
4. Promotes information literacy university wide in order to encourage collaboration and gain recognition for information literacy as a core competency.
(Program Outcomes as approved by USC Upstate librarians 23 January 2009)