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Information Literacy: A Portal for Faculty: Overview


Information literacy lies at the core of lifelong learning.  It empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations.

The Alexandria Proclamation, UNESCO, 2006

A liberal arts education always has stressed the development of critical thinking skills to evaluate and then use information to create new knowledge.  The advent of the digital age, which rendered dizzyingly vast quantities of information easily available, has made the need for information literacy education even more acute.

The University of Puget Sound has as one of its core missions the development of lifelong learners.  The librarians at Collins Memorial Library are committed to supporting teaching and learning, and stand ready to partner with faculty to ensure that our students graduate with a sophisticated set of information literacy competencies.

Contexts and Definitions

Over the past two decades, several organizations and scholars have presented definitions of information literacy.  While these definitions may differ in their emphases on technology skills and their relationships to other "literacies" (media or visual literacy, for example), they have in common a recognition that information literacy encompasses the development of higher order critical thinking abilities. 

Here are some of the most influential definitions of information literacy currently in circulation:

Information Literacy in the Disciplines

Thus far, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) division of the American Library Association has published guidelines for information literacy/research competencies in these disciplines:

Project Information Literacy

Associate Director for Public Services

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Peggy Burge
Collins Library 119