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The Information Literacy Program’s Role in the Educational Mission of West Virginia University

The mission of the WVU Libraries Information Literacy Program is to foster integration of information literacy into the University educational process and the curriculum, and to promote information literacy for all members of the University community. The program uses available expertise, resources, and careful planning to teach as many WVU students as possible how to develop their research capabilities, to think critically, to value their own questions and recognize inquiry as central to learning, and to achieve academic success.

These objectives are tied directly to West Virginia University’s mission to “deliver high-quality education and excel in discovery and innovation,” and vision to “attain national research prominence, thereby enhancing educational achievement, global engagement, diversity, and the vitality and well-being of the people of West Virginia.” In addition, the first goal in the 2020 Strategic Plan is to “engage undergraduate, graduate and professional students in a challenging academic environment.” In the third aspiration, the 2020 Plan states, “West Virginia University graduates will be among the nation’s leaders in career readiness.” Because knowing how to locate, evaluate, and use information is crucial to a high-quality education, as well as a key component in the research process, possession of information literacy skills is essential to achieving these aspirational goals.

The Libraries teach these essential information literacy skills and for this reason, play a key role within the University community as we work together to achieve these goals. As the mission of the Libraries emphasizes, the Libraries must “actively participate as a partner in WVU’s high-quality education.” In the West Virginia University Libraries’ 2020 Strategic Plan, the WVU Libraries have pledged to “seek sustainable and scalable new models of library instruction related to University priorities” and to “seek opportunities for new research and partnerships with WVU teaching faculty.” WVU instruction librarians offer instruction in research capabilities because:

  1. The information environment is too complex and changing too rapidly to expect students to acquire information literacy without a planned, systematic, cumulative instructional program.
  2. Disciplines are changing, communication is multi-dimensional, and students are expected to employ sophisticated information seeking techniques in the twenty-first century.
  3. All University students need research abilities to succeed in their classes and prepare for a lifetime of information use in the future.
  4. Students need basic information literacy capabilities in the first years of college, and later they must develop advanced, research level abilities in their majors, and professional degree programs.

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