Skip to main content

Library Instruction & Information Literacy: Information Literacy

Information competency enables students to take control of their information needs by becoming more independent, assuming personal control of their learning, and becoming aware of effective processes for finding, analyzing, and using information.

Information Competency Mission Statement

Information competency lies at the heart of lifelong learning. It enables students to take control of their information needs by becoming more independent, assuming personal control of their learning, and becoming aware of effective processes for finding, analyzing, and using information.

St. Mary's University students who are information competent will have an understanding of how knowledge is organized and will be able to

  • determine what information is needed for a particular purpose, whether this be in connection with an academic, personal, or professional pursuit;
  • access needed information effectively and efficiently;
  • evaluate information and its sources for authenticity, relevance, and reliability;
  • integrate new information with their existing knowledge; 
  • use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose;
  • and understand the ethical, economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information.

The Louis J. Blume Library shares the responsibility for developing information competent students with the university’s schools, departments, and programs by integrating information competency throughout the curriculum with the active participation of the community.

Findings

During the first several weeks of the Fall 2007 Semester, the Research Practices Survey was administered to 544 incoming freshmen and 111 undergraduate students enrolled in Advanced Composition courses by faculty from the Louis J. Blume Library. Findings of the study include:

• There was no statistically significant difference between our Advanced Composition students and new incoming students on evaluation ability measures.

• On other measures of information literacy—source identification and documentation ability, and searching ability—as well as overall information literacy ability measures, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups. Both groups averaged the lowest scores in their searching ability.

• Both upperclass students and incoming students averaged below 50% on a combined index of information literacy variables.

• 3% of new students and 4% of upperclass students indicated they enjoy research “very much,” while 28% of new students and 36% of upperclass students indicated they enjoy research “very little.”

• Similar results have been found at other U.S. colleges and universities.

Executive Summary: Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going? Assessing Information Skills study

Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going? Assessing Information Skills (Presentation to Faculty, November 13, 2008)

Presentations