Vol. 2, No. 1 Fall 2004

Information Literacy

"The More Information a Person Has, the More Important It Becomes
to Judge How to Use It"

Susan Cooperstein, Instructional Coordinator

The Loyola/Notre Dame Library is collaborating with the faculty at both colleges on an information literacy program to ensure that all students graduating from Loyola College and the College of Notre Dame are able to find the information they need, evaluate the information they find, and use that information appropriately and effectively. The goal is to establish an incremental, multi-tiered, integrated information literacy program based on defined learning objectives at each level. The library is making significant progress toward this goal, with the number of library instruction sessions increasing from 125 in 2001-02 to 202 in 2003-04, and with more integrated departmental participation.

At the College of Notre Dame, information literacy instruction begins with 100 percent participation by students in IDS100, an introductory course taken by all incoming students that defines the college experience. The library also actively participates in the new Accelerated College Nursing Program, providing basic and advanced instructional sessions. We are currently pursuing additional participation in undergraduate majors courses and graduate programs in order to focus on information literacy in specialized disciplines.

At Loyola, English faculty require all students in the English 200-level classes to take sessions in library instruction. Although the focus in these library sessions is on literature databases, the instruction aims to develop transferable information skills, including understanding the search process and assessing the appropriateness of sources. In addition to the English 200-level courses, an increasing number of First Year Experience and Effective Writing classes include introductory library instruction. The library continues to promote such a core-level session of information literacy in the first year in order to introduce students to the use of library resources and the evaluation of Internet sources. Next, several majors, including communications, marketing, psychology, and speech pathology, provide opportunities for undergraduates to focus on information competence in specialized areas. At the graduate level, many departments, including education, speech pathology, and psychology, provide information literacy instruction as an integral part of their research courses. Information literacy is also included in many graduate courses in business and is being offered as a lunchtime series in pastoral counseling.

According to the 1998 Boyer Commission, "The more information a person has, the more important it becomes to judge how to use it." The goal of the information literacy initiative is to ensure that graduates of both colleges served by the Loyola/Notre Dame Library are skilled in analyzing and synthesizing the overwhelming amount of information readily available to them. We will continue to refine our program and pursue initiatives to integrate information literacy education into all majors.

Faculty members and department representatives are invited to contact Susan Cooperstein (x6832 or cooperstein@loyola.edu) to discuss the program.


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