Information Literacy Programming in Higher Education

November 15, 2000

The Association of College & Research Libraries has an active program to address issues that center on information literacy programming in higher education. Information literacy is “the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information to become independent life_long learners” (Note 1). An information literacy program attempts to provide students with educational experiences that develop their information literacy skills. These programs take many forms but typically involve librarians, classroom faculty, and other professionals working together to incorporate information literacy into an undergraduate curriculum.

Because of the diversity of programs and because the inclusion of information literacy into higher education programs is relatively new (Note 2) there has been strong professional interest in defining model information literacy programs. Since May 2000, two groups called the Best Practices Project Team and Advisory Council have been busy drafting a statement of the characteristics of best practice. We now have a draft document which we would like to share with the higher education community. Furthermore we would like to get feedback. Is the statement clear? Does it cover all aspects of information literacy programming? What is it missing?

The statement, once revised, will be used in the short run to identify model information literacy programs. In the long run we hope the statement will provide a basis for measuring the quality of individual information literacy programs.

We have a site ready where you can read the document and provide us with feedback. When you go to the site listed here you will be entering a piece of software that manages web threaded discussions. By following the appropriate links you will get to a message that allows you to open two windows. One window provides a draft of the Characteristics of Best Practice _ November 10 Draft and the other window provides a space for typing your comments.

We would appreciate all comments – short or long, detailed or general, editorial or substantiative.

If you know of any groups or individuals who should see this message please feel free to pass it on. Thanks.

Tom Kirk

(765) 983-1360

P.S. If you want background information on ACRL s activities in information literacy I invite you to visit

Note 1: Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Criteria for Accreditation, Section 5.1.2 [Library and Other Information Resources] Services . 10th ed. Dec. 1996. (URL: IV).

Note 2: Those very familiar with the field of bibliographic instruction and information literacy will recognize this over simplification. I am trying to keep this message brief.