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INFORMATION LITERACY What is it ? How can we teach it ?. Al Najaf Conference 7 May 2009 Fujairah HCT Pamella Asquith, Librarian FMC. INFORMATION LITERACY. Thought-Provoking Quotations Definition and History of Information Literacy as a concept Teaching Options for Info Lit

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Information literacy what is it how can we teach it

INFORMATION LITERACYWhat is it ? How can we teach it ?

Al Najaf Conference

7 May 2009 Fujairah HCT

Pamella Asquith, Librarian FMC

Information literacy


  • Thought-Provoking Quotations

  • Definition and History of Information Literacy as a concept

  • Teaching Options for Info Lit

    • Who, What, When, How

  • FWC’s Old Model

  • FC’s New Model

  • Suggestions for Improvement & Development

Food for thought

Food for thought . . .

Education... has produced

a vast population

able to read but

unable to distinguish

what is worth reading.

G.M. Trevelyan, British Historian (1876-1962)

Food for thought1

Food for thought . . .

In your thirst for knowledge,

be sure not to drown

in all the information.

Anthony J. D'Angelo

The College Blue Book

Food for thought2

Food for thought . . .

Everybody gets

so much information all day long that

they lose their common sense.

Gertrude Stein (1874 - 1946)

Food for thought3

Food for thought . . .

I'm not dumb.

I just have a command

of thoroughly useless information.

Bill Watterson (1958 - )

“Calvin", It's a Magical World

Food for thought4

Food for thought . . .

The multitude of books

is making us ignorant.

Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Information literacy1

Information Literacy?


Ability to read

Computer Literacy-

Ability to use computers

Information Literacy-

Ability to think critically about

and use information

1989 information literacy ala white paper

1989 Information Literacy ALA White Paper

“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognizewhen information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and useeffectively the needed information.”

American Library Association, 1989

Presidential Committee establishing

the National Forum on Information Literacy

1996 a new liberal art

1996 A New Liberal Art

“[Information literacy is] a new liberal art

that extends from knowing how to

use computers and access information to

critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural, and philosophical context and impact.”

Jeremy Shapiro & Shelley Hughes

Educause Review 31:2 March/April 1996

2003 prague declaration

2003 Prague Declaration

Sponsored by UNESCO,

the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science,

and the National Forum on Information Literacy

“The creation of an Information Society is key to social, cultural and economic development of nations and communities, institutions and individuals in the 21st century and beyond.

Information Literacy encompasses knowledge of one’s information concerns and needs, and the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively create, use and communicate informationto address issues or problems at hand; it is a prerequisite for participating effectively in the Information Society, and is part of the basic human right of lifelong learning.”

2005 alexandria proclamation on information literacy and lifelong learning

2005 Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning

“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.”

2007 unesco understanding information literacy a primer

2007 UNESCO Understanding Information Literacy: A Primer

Eleven stages of the Information Literacy Life Cycle

1. Realize need

2. Identify & define info needed

3. Determine if info exists

4. Find info

5. Create unavailable info

6. Read and understand info

7. Organize, analyze, interpret & evaluate

8. Communicate info to others

9. Solve the info problem

10. Preserve & archive info for future use

11. Dispose of obsolete info

Teaching info lit who

Teaching Info Lit : WHO ?

  • Librarians and Library Staff

  • English Faculty

  • Content Faculty

  • Paraprofessional Tutors

  • Peer Student Tutors

  • Combination of above roles

Teaching info lit what

Teaching Info Lit : WHAT ?

Tier 1: How to use the library, check out books, find books etc

Tier 2: How to use specific kinds of resources : dictionaries, encyclopedias, e-books, magazines, newspapers, etc

Tier 3: How to use databases, general and subject specific

Tier 4: Evaluation of information resources especially websites

Tier 5: Academic honesty and citing sources, writing reference lists or bibliographies

Tier 6 : Academic Research Process (Big6)

Teaching info lit when

Teaching Info Lit : WHEN ?

  • During pre-semester orientation

  • During first semester or first year only

  • Ongoing at every level

  • All of the above

Teaching info lit how

Teaching Info Lit : HOW ?

  • Part of library orientation

  • Workshops or non-credit classes (PPDV)

  • Ad hoc requests from faculty

  • Within language and content courses

  • Separate credit class

    • Face-to-face

    • Online

      All of the above

Fwc s old model

FWC’s old model

  • In past years, foundation students had 6, 1-hour class sessions in their first semester taught by the librarian; non-credit, part of “Personal and Professional Development.”

  • About 300 students (in 14 separate sections) with coursework that had to be assessed as well as an accessed project (total 7 assessments per student) all by only one librarian who had many other duties.

  • This proved unmanageable.

Fwc s old model1

FWC’s old model

  • Clearly face-to-face instruction by one librarian was not feasible and could never work unless a fulltime teaching librarian was hired. Even then, repeating a 1-hour lesson 14+ times in one week is boring for the instructor.

  • Needed to be some kind of online instruction.

  • Needed to be time-share of instruction duties.

Fwc s old model2

FWC’s old model

  • Topics, although useful for courses,

    were not coordinated in such a way as to deliver instruction at the optimal time.

  • For example, how to write citations was not taught when students were doing research and needed to be writing citations.

  • Topics did not take into account the low level of English and general lack of interest in reading. Unrealistic expectations of what students could achieve.

New model

New Model

About 1 year ago, in collaboration with faculty and supervisors, modules were conceived and designed by librarians.

Integral was the notion of time-share presentation among library staff, SSC tutors, language and content faculty at whatever point within a course deemed most useful.

New model content tiers

New Model : Content “Tiers”

Tier 1: How to use the library (Taught by library staff)

Tier 2 : How to use specific kinds of resources

Taught by library staff or Foundations English faculty)

Tier 3 & 4: How to use databases and evaluation of resources (Taught by librarians)

Tier 5: Citing sources, writing reference lists or bibliographies(Taught by librarians and faculty)

Tier 6: Academic Research Process

(Taught by content faculty and librarians)

New model description

New Model : Description

A module is only 3-10 minutes but exercises and supplements can extend the lesson time, be used as reinforcement, follow up or assessment at faculty discretion.

Modules are designed like an “infomercial” and “branded” with a custom look but each has different colors and avatars. Language is in a conversational style & as simple as possible.

New model features

New Model : Features

Printable worksheets and other materials such as flash cards are included for many modules and can be used at the faculty discretion.

Narration can be imbedded (headphone quality). High-quality narration for classroom acoustics also possible but needs a separate linked file.

New model advantages

New Model : Advantages

  • Absent students can access the materials for makeup.

  • Modules can be replayed at different points in a semester or academic year if students have forgotten the skill or content.

  • Modules can be made into visual displays or posters, screen savers for library PCs and played on plasma monitors around campus.

Examples of modules

Examples of Modules

Tier 1: Call Numbers (PlugIn 8)

Tier 2: Newspapers (PlugIn 14)

Tier 3: Business Databases (PlugIn 21)

Tier 4: Questions about Websites (PlugIn 38)

Tier 5: MLA Intext Citations for Direct Quotes (PlugIn 28)

Tier 6: The Academic Research Process (PlugIn 40)

Work in progress


Unfortunately at the beginning of the AY, not all content was finished. But, now after first year, most of the content has been developed.

Problems with technical aspects of narration and playback.

Lots of revision necessary because of library website interface changes. Major revisions necessary in all presentations on citations and referencing because MLA has changed the rules.

Due to time loss from breaks in the semester, faculty could not spare time for 100% coverage of all topics.

Work in progress1


Ongoing issue of so many sections needing coverage, too many for the same person.

Classroom teachers don’t want extra lessons added to their curriculum, so coverage of library lessons has been & will always be spotty if faculty are responsible for delivery.

Looking for an alternative less labor-intensive (BlackBoardVista).



  • See Handout for list of all topics

  • Access from S drive/General/Library PlugIn Lessons

  • Next step : BlackBoard Vista version, 15 lessons

Information literacy what is it how can we teach it




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