The Association for College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as “the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”
The University of Missouri Libraries are dedicated to the development of a university community that is information literate. Our librarians offer expert research instruction across the disciplines in order to provide the MU community with the skills and knowledge to expertly identify, find, and evaluate information. We actively promote our instructional services as the bridge to information literacy empowerment between our patrons and their research needs.
The University Libraries’ instructional services are informed by the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. We believe that MU graduates should be able to:
- Identify problems important to society and the information needed to address them.
- Find existing sources of information on a topic.
- Evaluate the accuracy, validity, and reliability of information presented in a wide variety of media.
- Conduct appropriately focused library, field, or laboratory research.
- Analyze and synthesize information gathered, demonstrating strategic and logical reasoning skills.
- Demonstrate the understanding of costs, benefits, and consequences of proposed resolutions to problems important to society.
- Organizing information, data, and ideas for further analysis and presentation.
We encourage the development of an information literate university community in the following ways:
- By collaborating with colleagues across the campus to integrate information literacy into academic programs.
- By providing instruction formally and informally, to individuals and to classes, in person and online.
- By providing programmatic instruction that addresses the needs of the University community.
- By working to make every interaction at the library, especially reference questions, a learning opportunity for users.
- By evaluating the effectiveness of our approaches and regularly renewing our own skills.
We ask faculty to consider the following guidelines when requesting instructional services:
- Library visits and instruction sessions should be requested no fewer than 7 days in advance to allow for proper preparation and room availability.
- Instruction sessions are most effective when a student has an actual information need and can immediately apply the concepts and skills taught in class.
- An instructor of record (or teaching assistant) must be present during librarian-led sessions.
- Regardless of whether you will need instruction sessions taught by a librarian, consider collaborating with your subject librarian or the Library Instruction Coordinator when designing research assignments that require the use of library resources. This avoids student frustrations and ensures that resources for the assignment are available in the library.
- Be specific about the topics, mechanics, and requirements of an assignment. Novice researchers cannot be expected to locate materials without explicit guidelines.
- Lay the groundwork for the upcoming instruction session and emphasize the importance of student attendance. Ensure that students are aware of upcoming research assignments prior to a library visit, so that they understand the purpose of the instruction session.
- Consider having students write a Research Process Paper in preparation for entry in the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Project Contest.