The term “information literacy” may not be familiar to your students. However, information literacy skills — such as the ability to locate and access information, critically evaluate it, and then organize and present the information effectively — are certainly relevant to students’ education, and to their lives going forward.

In your courses, you may help students acquire these skills through assignments and activities, or via instructional sessions in the library. You likely also emphasize the importance of proper grammar, style, and presentation, pay attention to the logic and clarity of students’ arguments, and reinforce the seriousness of plagiarism. By putting these principles into practice, students can become more confident and credible communicators.

In their book 100% Information Literacy Success, Second Edition, authors Amy Solomon, Gwenn Wilson, and Terry Taylor teach the information skills needed for success in today’s academic and professional environments. They stress that information literacy not only has a bearing on one’s current status in school, but on one’s professional future as well.

Below are some discussion questions that the authors recommend asking as you begin to address information literacy in your class. By doing so, you may open your students’ eyes to the importance of building these skills — not only for the assignments they’ll complete in college, but for the tasks they’ll face in their careers.

  • Reflect on your area of study and the job-related tasks in your current or future career. What sources and information will you have to be able to locate, access, retrieve, and use information? List as many different areas and types of information as you can. Expand this list as you think of additional types of information and sources.
  • How do you think you might be asked to communicate new information in your workplace? List as many different ways or formats as you can. Be specific.
  • Imagine yourself in the role of manager or owner of a company, organization, or facility similar to the kind in which you want to work during your career. Relative to information literacy, what information skills would you want your new employees to have? Why? As the owner/manager, how would you be at a disadvantage if your employees were information-illiterate? (Think about this question as you compare your facility to a competing facility with highly skilled employees in information areas.) (p. 21)

Reference: Solomon, A., Wilson, G., and Taylor, T. 2012. 100% Information Literacy Success, 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Quote from Quantum Integrations, 100% Information Literacy Success, 2E. © 2012 Cengage Learning.