Information Literacy

Information Literacy is one of Valencia's general education learning outcomes. At Valencia, an "information literate" student is able to "locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from diverse sources." An expanded definition from the Association of College and Research Libraries informs our teaching practice: Information literacy is 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.

As faculty, Valencia librarians teach information literacy to students.

Information Literacy and Related Literacies

"Digital Literacy" refers to "the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet," according to a definition from Cornell University's Digital Literacy Resource.

Media Literacy, according to a definition by the Center for Media Literacy, is "a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms - from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy."

Metaliteracy "is a unified construct that supports the acquisition, production, and sharing of knowledge in collaborative online communities. Metaliteracy challenges traditional skills-based approaches to information literacy by recognizing related literacy types and incorporating emerging technologies," according to


The Student Perspective

Why is information literacy important?

Information literacy is a skill that doesn't just help with an upcoming research paper, it helps with all aspects of life. Knowing how to find information on the internet is easy. Knowing how to find the right information? Sometimes it can be surprisingly hard.

What does information literacy teach me?

It helps you develop the skills to answer the following questions:

  • Is this information correct?
  • Is this information current?
  • Is this information relevant?
  • Is this information trustworthy?

How does information literacy help me?

Every day we have questions that need answers. Where do we go? Whom can we trust? How can we find information to help ourselves? How can we help our family and friends? How can we learn about the world and be a better citizen? How can we make our voice heard?

The Faculty Perspective

Integrating Information Literacy Instruction into Your Course

There are numerous ways to partner with Valencia librarians to integrate information literacy instruction into your course. Download the handout:

Seven Ways to Integrate Information Literacy Instruction

Assessing Information Literacy

Information literacy is assessed at Valencia by librarians as well as within the general education disciplines.

Authentic, summative assessment of information literacy concepts and skills is usually achieved through the performance of an information search-related task such as a research paper. Other summative assignments might include annotated bibliographies, class debates or oral presentations.

Formative information literacy assessments may include short-answer response type items, multiple choice quizzes, and various classroom assessment techniques.

The Valencia libraries' Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Team includes librarians from all five Valencia campuses. Our goal is to develop valid and reliable information literacy assessment tools that can be adapted to the needs of any discipline. We believe that information literacy assessment, like information literacy instruction, works best when it is integrated within a discipline and directly relates to course assignments. Through partnerships with many disciplines we hope to gather enough data to form an overall picture of information literacy competencies at Valencia.

We also want to be an information source for disciplines interested in developing their own information literacy assessment tools. Below are resources that faculty may find useful.


ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) Links:

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries

Additional Links

Project Information Literacy
A national, longitudinal research study based in the University of Washington's iSchool, compiling data on how college students seek and use information.

An Essential Partner: The Librarian's Role in Student Learning Assessment (NILOA Occasional Paper No. 14.) This paper by Debra Gilchrist and Megan Oakleaf (2012, April), reports on ways that librarians and teaching faculty can partner to both facilitate and assess student learning.

Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community
This report from OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) explores students' information-seeking behaviors and perceptions. A valuable resource for any faculty member interested in getting inside students' heads when it comes to research.