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Information Literacy

Online library videos, activities, worksheets, and tools to learn more about information literacy and library instruction. For faculty, students, and staff.

Information Literacy Program

Welcome to the Paul Meek LIbrary Information Literacy website!  The IL Program at UTM is based on the 2016 ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.  You can find out more about the Framework and threshold concepts in the tabs above.  

Based on the feedback from a faculty survey completed in May of 2018 the IL Program will focus on the following components:  Online tutorials and course guides, faculty consultations and assignment design, and instruction (one-shot and embedded activities).  A smaller interest was expressed for basic information literacy workshops for faculty, with the potential for train-the-trainer workshops if interest increases in the future.

This site includes information on the various components of the PML Information Literacy Program, including library instruction, faculty consultations, assessment, tutorials, and the ACRL Framework.  And it's still under construction, so expect more information in the future! 

Feel free to explore.  And contact your friendly neighborhood Information Literacy Librarian if you have any questions.   

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) defines information literacy as "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."

At its very basic level, teaching information literacy involves helping students understand how to access various resources and how to determine appropriate resources for specific uses (like assignments). But beyond that, information literacy instruction involves several layers, including guiding students to think critically about authority and developing their own scholarly voices. 

The goals of the program are as follows:

  1. Teach UTM students the information literacy skills needed to navigate the modern information landscape, both during their time at UTM and beyond, to create lifelong learners and critical consumers of information.
  2. Integrate Information Literacy into the curriculum, starting with first-year programs and courses, scaffolding the program over several years to reach senior capstone and research courses and graduate students.
  3. Train librarians in relevant and timely pedagogical/andragogical approaches to information literacy and application of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 

The program goals also align with the first two goals of the UT Martin Five-Year Strategic Plan:

Goal I: Prepare graduates to be responsible, informed and engaged citizens in their workplaces and the larger community.

Goal II: Recruit, retain, and graduate students prepared for careers, professions and life.  

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education underpins Paul Meek Library's Information Literacy Program. The Framework is based on threshold concepts, which is a different approach than the older checklist of standards. While still including how-to components, modern information literacy instruction goes further by encouraging students to look beyond just the steps involved in searching a catalog or using a checklist for evaluating a source. 

The Frames:

  • Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

Threshold concepts were originally developed by Jan Meyer and Ray Land and can be likened to portals or doorways a student must pass through on the way to transformational learning.  This is oversimplifying the concept, so see the resources below for more information.  

Do I have to bring my students to a library classroom?

Nope! We have a variety of spaces in the library we can use, including a 28 seat computer lab, but we can also visit your classroom and have students use their mobile devices for activities.

What if I want more than one classroom session?

Great! Information literacy can't be taught in just one session, so we're happy to visit more than once. We're also in the process of developing some ideas about embedded librarians and potential co-teaching opportunities. 

What if I don't have time for a librarian visit?

We understand classroom time is at a premium. We can stop by for a few minutes to just say hi and let the students know librarians can help with research, or we can offer assignment design ideas and online assistance without visiting the classroom. 

Info Lit Topics

Information literacy includes a great world of information skills, including:

  • Using library tools - databases, finding scores, finding books, finding government documents, reference works, Research Guides, PML Search
  • The research process
    • Brainstorming
    • Selecting or narrowing a topic
    • The ways research and writing overlap
  • Evaluating sources
    • News
    • Academic sources
    • Websites
  • Reading sources
  • Different types of sources (primary vs. secondary, scholarly vs. popular and the ever-blurring line between them, source format vs. how you access the source)
  • The value of information in research projects, jobhunting, future careers, and daily life
  • Algorithmic bias
  • Social media
  • Data privacy
  • Ethical use of information
    • Plagiarism
    • Citations
    • Zotero - citation management software
    • Copyright and other forms of intellectual property
  • And more! Let the librarians know what you imagine, and we can talk more about it.