Information Update - Fall 2004

New Standards Re-Define Information Literacy

Benjamin Franklin's purpose for establishing the American Philosophical Society "for the promoting of useful knowledge" is as valid today as it was in 1743. Those who seek to become information fluent are his heirs, his legacy living on in information literate people.
Information literacy forms the needed knowledge base for life long learning. Found in all disciplines and all learning environments regardless of educational level, it helps in preparing today's learners for continual growth, mastery, and competence in any area of interest.
The University of Scranton and specifically the Weinberg Memorial Library are gearing up to address the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. These standards were approved by the Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on January 18, 2000. To encourage the promulgation and endorsement of these standards, ACRL has appealed to accrediting associations for their help. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the accrediting body for The University of Scranton, has responded to this appeal and has been offering seminars to aid colleges and universities in this endeavor. On December 7, 2003, Katie S. Duke attended the Pre-Conference Seminar on Improving Student Learning held before the 2003 Annual Conference of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In January, Dr. Beth Barnett, Dr. Marion Farrell, and Dean Charles Kratz attended "Transforming the College Library," a week-long seminar in San Francisco, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and ACRL. Betsey Moylan and Katie Duke have also taken online courses to help them blend these standards into current library instruction courses and to work with the teaching faculty to embed these standards in their course curriculum. During the summer of 2004, the librarians met on a regular basis to discuss the book, An Action Plan for Outcomes Assessment in Your Library. This book will provide the foundation for our new information literacy program.
Course-imbedded information literacy and assessment are the mandate of the Middle States accreditation process which the University will be undertaking in 2007/2008. These new endeavors will produce a shift in most established library instruction programs, including ours. Most of the library instruction done at the University of Scranton focuses on librarians teaching students how to locate materials needed for a specific class assignment. Traditionally librarians presented the information to the students, but did not have an opportunity to assess learning. The shift will be away from this form of instruction to an information literacy program where faculty and librarians will work together to embed the teaching and learning information literacy skills into their courses.
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