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The Information Literacy Initiative at West Virginia University Libraries

Learning is something the WVU Libraries take seriously. An ongoing effort to formalize all of the many instructional and learning activities that academic librarians are involved in is called the Information Literacy Initiative. The ILI at WVU Libraries began in 2007. Information literacy, broadly speaking, is the ability to find information and use it effectively. But it also means thinking critically and reflecting on the research process, effective searching, retrieval, and resource evaluation skills, and the ethical and legal use of information.

The Libraries’ Strategic Plan, 2011-12 states our priorities in response to the University’s 2020 Plan. In order “to engage undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in a challenging academic environment,” the Libraries will improve the library user experience by using formal assessment of student and faculty satisfaction and needs; communicate assessment results to the WVU academic community to promote understanding; and seek opportunities for new research and teaching partnerships with WVU teaching faculty. http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/about/policies/strategicplan/index.pdf

There is an expectation in the strategic plan that various techniques will be used to encourage learning. They include: teaching of the principles and capabilities of information literacy, instructional collaboration with faculty, connection to the First Year Experience program at WVU, and promotion of a leadership role on campus to foster greater understanding of information literacy and its potential for curriculum reform and student learning improvement. While developing the comprehensive goals and objectives of the Libraries program of information literacy, the Information Literacy Initiative is also promoting individual librarian efforts at all three major campus libraries to advance the ideas and assessment of information literacy learning.

The Information Literacy Course Enhancement grant program (ILCEP) http://wvufaculty.wvu.edu/r/download/152789 is offered annually to bring faculty together with librarians to develop research based learning outcomes in established courses across the disciplines. Since 2009-10, faculty members in the following disciplines have enhanced their courses: Sport Sciences, Geology and Geography, Speech-Potomac State, Art History, English, Nursing, Soil Sciences, Human Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology. In 2011-12 they are: Sport Sciences, WVU TECH, Engineering, Sociology, Theater, and English.

Here are some assumptions about information literacy for broader discussion at WVU:

All of these activities (under the umbrella of the Information Literacy Initiative) aim to unify the instructional activities of the Libraries into a formal educational program that can be presented to the campus community as a scaffold of learning. Eventually, the Libraries will have foundational, intermediate, discipline specific, and expert information literacy outcomes clarified and communicated to everyone who is interested in stronger students and better student research results. The Libraries’ information literacy program, once fully developed, will be an action plan for a commitment to learning excellence in information use at West Virginia University.

For further information about this program development, please write: