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. This was followed in 2001 by 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. In 2015, ACRL released the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, which presents an alternate conceptualization of information literacy based on threshold concepts.These documents and information about using and teaching with them can be found on ACRL's Frameworks & Standards page.