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Information Literacy: Overview

An introduction to Information Literacy and how Staley Library works to develop information literate students.

Benefits for Students

Through information literacy instruction students:

  • know the best source to fill their information need.
  • develop effective search strategies to find information
  • learn the skill to evaluate information and identify bias or deception.
  • know when and how to cite their sources and avoid plagiarism.
  • think critically about information and its value.

Benefits for Faculty

By engaging with librarians on information literacy teaching faculty:

  • receive higher quality research work from students.
  • create assignments that make better use of available resources.
  • devote less class time to teaching research skills.

What is information literacy?

"To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

-- The American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report


Information literacy, or "information fluency" or "information competency" as it is sometimes known, encompasses not only the ability to find information, but also knowing how to evaluate it and to use it in an effective and ethical manner. Traditionally, finding the needed information presented the greatest challenge, but in today's environment of information abundance or even over-abundance, the burden has switched to sifting through all that is available to find the most credible and useful information. The difficulty of this task has been compounded by the intentionally misleading and inaccurate information that is also available through a myriad of sources.

Creating information literate students is the responsibility of the entire Millikin community, but the librarians at Staley Library take the lead on fostering information literacy across the curriculum through classroom instruction, the creation of instructional materials, and one on one work with students and faculty.