Information Literacy

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines the information literate student as 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


Information Literacy, Oral Communication, Critical Thinking and Written Communication are the Universal Student Competencies as defined by the Middle States General Education requirements.


The following resources are designed to assist faculty in developing assignments and instruction that meets the Information Literacy competencies.


Working with a librarian

Information Literacy hands-on activities reinforce the work done in the classroom and assist faculty and students in the use of research tools. In order to assist students in their academic work, the Information Literacy Librarian collaborates directly with instructors in a team teaching setting. The Librarian will provide assistance with, and advice on, effective strategies for the integration, delivery, and evaluation of Information Literacy Competencies within the College’s curricula.

Please contact Katie DeRusso at x5858 or email for more information or to schedule a session.

The information literacy librarian will work with faculty on creating assignments, providing a full-class session on conducting research for a class assignment or can serve as an embedded librarian, working closely with the class throughout the semester.


Designing assignments for student success

Well-designed course-related library assignments are an effective way to introduce students to research and emphasize the importance of information sources. The following guidelines will help to insure students a positive library experience and reinforce library use as a means of learning.

    Assume minimal library knowledge and recognize that students might not be able to complete a research assignment without a librarian’s assistance.  

    Although many students may be familiar with using some library tools, few understand the intricacies of subject headings or keyword searching and many have never used research journals.

    Explain the assignment detail and be sure to define terms such as “peer-reviewed articles” or “scholarly papers”

    Give students specific guidelines about the types of sources to be used. For instances, “you must use at least two books, three magazine/journal articles, and no more than two thoroughly evaluated websites”.

    Always be sure the library has the needed information students are instructed to use.

    There are few experiences more frustrating than looking for what does not exist or has been checked out. Use the Library's reserve service for materials that many students need to use.

    Avoid the mob scene. Dozens of students using just one book, article, or index, or looking for the same information usually leads to misplacement, loss, or mutilation of materials.

    Avoid scavenger hunts. Searching for obscure facts frustrates students, can cause chaos in the library stacks, and teaches students little about research (and it’s very easy for them to copy off each other). If planning a library exercise, talk to a librarian about designing one appropriate to the class.

    Ask a librarian to test your assignment before you give it to students

    Send a copy of the assignment to the library so the reference librarians can be fully prepared when students come for assistance.