Educational Design and Technology

Information Literacy

Students practice critical thinking, know when information is needed, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively, and ask questions about its validity


Information Literacy constitutes the abilities to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate, effectively use, and communicate information in its various formats. [SUNY Council of Library Directors, Information Literacy Initiative Committee, Final Report, September 30, 1997]

To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. Producing such a citizenry will require that schools and colleges appreciate and integrate the concept of information literacy into their learning programs and that they play a leadership role in equipping individuals and institutions to take advantage of the Librarians shelving booksopportunities inherent within the information society. [American Library Association, Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, Final Report , January 10, 1989]

Each institution should foster optimal use of its learning resources through strategies designed to help students develop information literacy - the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information in order to become independent learners.... It is essential to have an active and continuing program of library orientation and instruction in accessing information, developed collaboratively and supported actively by faculty, librarians, academic deans, and other information providers. [Commission on Higher Education; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education; Standards for Accreditation, 1994 edition]


Additional Reading

Abilock, Debbie. Information Literacy From Prehistory to K–20: A New Definitionexternal link. Knowledge Quest Volume 32/Number 4, March/April 2004.


Cooper, L. Z. Supporting Visual Literacy in the School Library Media Center:  Developmental, Socio-Cultural, and Experiential Considerations and Scenarios.  Knowledge Quest 36(3), 14-19, 2 January/February, 2008.

Discusses ways in which we can help our students become more effective users and generators of visual information. Examines issues that affect the development of visual literacy and shares specific vignettes to describe ways in which we, in the library, can support the development to visual literacy. 

Jones-Kavalier, B. R., & Flannigan, S. L.  Connecting the Digital Dots:  Literacy of the 21st Century.  Teacher Librarian 35(3), 13-16, February, 2008.

The changing definition of literacy, the various ways in which our students are literate, and the importance of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation in critical thinking.

Scott, Thomas J., and O'Sullivan, Michael K. Analyzing Student Search Strategies: Making a Case for Integrating Information Literacy Skills into the Curriculum. Teacher Librarian 33.1 (2005): 21-25. 

Stripling, Barbara K., and Hughes-Hassell, Sandra, eds. Curriculum Connections

through the Library: Principles and Practice. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

Warlick, D. .  Redefining Literacy 2.0. (2nd ed.) Linworth, Columbus, OH, 2008.

Warlick begins by describing a day in the life of school 2.0 – 2015. He asserts that “ in the 21st century, literacy … now includes a range of skills to find, navigate, access, decode, evaluate, and organize the information from a globally networked information landscape.”

Web Resources

In New York State, the Regents develop learning standards and districts or regions develop curriculums.  A number of areas have developed Information Literacy curriculums. These districts would use their local curriculum. In a district without an Information Literacy Curriculum, they could use one or more of the curriculums developed in New York or develop their own local curriculum. Some New York State Information Literacy/Fluency curriculums are:

  • Based on the Stripling Model of Inquiry, the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum PDF file icon ( 12.6MB) provides opportunities for librarians and teachers to incorporate the teaching of inquiry through classroom instruction and project- based learning across content areas.

"Managing Information in a Digital Age" by teachers at Seeds University Elementary School, UCLA.

http://www.connect.gseis.ucla.edu/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=connections:2000_conn_spring.pdf external link PDF file icon (71.7KB)

Big 6 - An information and technology literacy model and curriculum, implemented in thousands of schools - K through higher education. http://www.big6.com/external link .

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Educationexternal link

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)


Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age

The Knight Commission framework for a vision for “informed communities.” The Commission’s articulation of community information needs and the critical steps necessary to meet them. http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/
external link PDF file icon (366KB)

New York Library Association 21st Century Information Literacy Standards for the Digital Learners of New York; http://thenewmiddleschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/digital-learner-standards.pdfexternal link PDF file icon (367KB)

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Curriculum and Instruction: A 21st Century Skills Implementation Guide

Guiding recommendations, promising directions, action steps that can be taken to move states, districts and schools towards ensuring that students will be prepared for success.
http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/p21-stateimp_curriculuminstruction.pdf external link PDF
(434 KB)

School Library System Association (SLSA) of New York State

Links to Information Literacy curricula

http://www.slsa-nys.org/curriculum.cfm?subpage=612979 external link

WebCHECK - evaluation instruments for students, teachers and professional web designers to use to evaluate Internet resources developed through the Syracuse University School of Information Studies;

http://www.mywebcheck.net/external link


[Photo credit: New York Library Association]

Last Updated: May 19, 2015