Information Literacy Best Practices: Exemplary Programs

 

Welcome

Welcome to the Exemplary Programs page of the ACRL Information Literacy Best Practices (ILBP) project. Below, we present IL programs that embody the best practices laid out in the document, “Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline.

Procedure

The ACRL Instruction Section ILBP Committee solicits program applications in the spring and fall through listserv posts and our website. IL programs apply through the Call for Exemplary Information Literacy Programs page in one or more of the ten best practice categories outlined in the "Characteristics" document. Both U.S. and non-U.S. programs are welcome to apply. Applications are judged by members of the ILBP Committee using the Best Practices Evaluation Rubric.

This Exemplary Programs page supplies contact information and descriptions for each program. Programs recognized as exemplary are invited to post the ILBP logo on their websites to link to this page.

The Programs

Best Practice Categories

Category 1: Mission

Category 2: Goals and Objectives

Category 3: Planning

Category 4: Administrative and Institutional Support

Category 5: Articulation (program sequence) within the Curriculum

Category 6: Collaboration

Category 7: Pedagogy

Category 8: Staffing

Category 9: Outreach

Category 10: Assessment/Evaluation

 

Category 1: Mission

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: University Libraries

https://www.library.unlv.edu/
Melissa Bowles-Terry, Head of Educational Initiatives 
melissa.bowles-terry@unlv.edu
UNLV librarians maintain a well-developed “shared values” statement that connects information literacy to the library, the university, and to lifelong learning.  The shared values statement reads, “We value information literacy and critical thinking as life-long, transferable skills important to UNLV students’ current and future academic, personal, and professional success. The Libraries, as a partner in the University’s educational mission, provides direct support for learning outcomes related to information literacy and critical thinking." It may be found at the library website alongside the Instruction Framework

Category 2: Goals and Objectives

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: University Libraries

https://www.library.unlv.edu/ 
Melissa Bowles-Terry, Head of Educational Initiatives
melissa.bowles-terry@unlv.edu
UNLV University Libraries created an Instruction Framework which "recommends a roadmap and tools for strategic development of the University Libraries’ instruction efforts." Through matching ACRL Standards to the University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes (UULOs) required of all undergraduate students, librarians developed a UULO Library Core to focus their contributions to student learning. Using curriculum mapping, they integrated and scaffolded information literacy learning at all levels to ensure iteration of key skills.

University of Rhode Island: University Libraries

http://web.uri.edu/library/ 
Mary C. MacDonald, Head of Instructional Services 
marymac@uri.edu 
The University of Rhode Island Libraries Information Literacy Plan exemplifies a staged articulation of goals and objectives serving the university's goals for General Education and other programs, as well as the university and library's mission and vision statements. These goals and objectives are regularly revisited and considered. At the same time, assessment is incorporated into every major IL effort. A rubric based on the current ACRL IL standards has been developed and extensively tested for use in any course that intends on satisfying the IL requirement of the General Education program. A curriculum map sets out laddered IL learning goals for various course levels.

Category 3: Planning

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: University Libraries

https://www.library.unlv.edu/
Melissa Bowles-Terry, Head of Educational Initiatives 
melissa.bowles-terry@unlv.edu
The UNLV Instruction Framework provides a thorough strategy for the instruction program by setting out curricular integration through a Library Core, investigating and enacting a curriculum mapping project to expand instructional opportunities, committing to professional development for library instructors, and establishing an ongoing assessment group for continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

Category 4: Administrative and Institutional Support

Purdue University Libraries

https://www.lib.purdue.edu
Beth McNeil, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
memcneil@purdue.edu
As an institution, Purdue University has committed itself to information literacy in its new core curriculum both at the "foundational" level, for general education outcomes, and at the "embedded" level, requiring each discipline to incorporate this ability into its undergraduate program. IL Program leadership is assigned to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who oversees most of the libraries' faculty. A donor endowed the W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy. Professional development is supported through the Purdue Libraries Excellence in Teaching Award, funding for conference travel and ACRL Immersion Program participation, and hosting an annual “Celebrating Research and Scholarship” event at which libraries faculty present studies on a wide range of information literacy and other topics. The libraries’ recent building projects include the renovated, award-winning Roland G. Parrish Library and the Active Learning Center under construction, "a learning commons for the 21st Century."

Category 5: Articulation within the Curriculum

Smith College Libraries

http://www.smith.edu/libraries/
Anne Houston, Director for Teaching, Learning & Research
ahouston@smith.edu
The Information Literacy Program at Smith College is formally integrated into the undergraduate curriculum for over 80% of majors. All incoming students enroll in LIB 105: Research Skills for Students, consisting of a Research Skills Quiz that collects baseline data and helps students learn basic IL competencies. IL learning goals for 1st and 2nd year students are well-defined, and are based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards. Information literacy skills are incorporated across the curriculum – from Writing Intensive courses, to discipline-specific methods, to scholars embarking on Honors Projects. Faculty define IL skills within the context of the majors and articulate how students will learn those skills and how they will be assessed.

University of North Carolina Wilmington: Randall Library

http://library.uncw.edu/
Anne Pemberton, Associate Director, Library Assessment and Instructional Services
pembertona@uncw.edu
Information Literacy is one of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s (UNCW) Learning Goals. To achieve this goal, the General Education curriculum (called “University Studies”) clearly defines the requirements for the information literacy (IL) competency. Students are required to complete nine (9) hours of information literacy intensive courses beginning with the First Year Seminar and extending into the major, and each course that is approved as an information literacy intensive course must undergo a rigorous evaluation process. The library is heavily involved in the University Studies IL requirement through scoring of course proposals for the IL category of courses, by serving as the IL “expert” during university-wide assessment, and through leading the integration of sequential and scaffolded IL instruction throughout each student’s IL exposure.

University of Rhode Island: University Libraries

http://web.uri.edu/library/
Mary C. MacDonald, Head of Instructional Services
marymac@uri.edu
The University of Rhode Island Libraries Information Literacy Plan articulates IL instruction across the curriculum at both the discipline level and the course level, from a pre-freshman “Talent Development” initiative to capstone courses across the disciplines. The University’s recently approved (March 2014) General Education Program includes IL as an outcome all students must attain and requires all courses and programs that include information literacy instruction to assess and report on the results of the assessment. This new General Education Program will require information literacy competency through a scaffolded, incremental approach, weaving IL throughout the four years of a student’s program of study. Students may fulfill the IL requirement by taking a 3-credit IL course OR by fulfilling a sequence of IL opportunities including an IL tutorial, engagement with IL in Freshman Seminar, a Writing Course, a Communications Course and an upper level integrative course. 

Category 6: Collaboration

The George Washington University Libraries

http://library.gwu.edu/
Dolsy Smith, Instruction Reference Librarian
dsmith@gwu.edu
As described in the First Year Writing (UW1020) Template, first-year writing courses at George Washington University are each assigned a librarian, who works with teaching faculty before, during and after the semester to prepare, implement and evaluate instruction. Librarians interact with students in a variety of ways, including multiple class sessions and individual meetings. This ongoing collaboration at GWU has been an institutionalized practice since the formation of the University Writing Program in 2003, and has resulted in publications such as, "A Case Study in Collaboration: Assessing Academic Librarian/Faculty Partnerships" by Deborah B. Gaspar and Karen A. Wetzel (College and Research Libraries 70 (2009):578-591) and “More Than Just a Fieldtrip: Faculty and Librarian Collaboration in the First-Year Writing Classroom,” by Caroline Smith and Ann Brown (Journal of Teaching Writing 26.2 (2011): 65-84). The Writing Program collaboration continues to inform other collaborations across the university.

Illinois Weslayan University: The Ames Library

https://www.iwu.edu/library/
Christopher Sweet, Information Literacy Librarian
csweet@iwu.edu
This exemplary IL Program includes a fully operational system of communication contributing to student learning. Within their current plan, they explicitly acknowledge the need for collaboration and formally recognize partners for current IL initiatives as well as identifying future cooperative opportunities. Especially impressive are the partnerships they have forged to integrate IL into the disciplines. Together with the Writing Program, the IL Program was awarded a Mellon Grant for integration of IL in the disciplines. With the grant monies, the IL Program collaborated with faculty to revise entire courses and/or key assignments resulting in "meaningful integration of information literacy." Moreover, due to librarians’ collaboration and communication efforts, the newly revised IWU campus Strategic Plan contains multiple information literacy goals including: "Enhance programs such as teaching circles and information-literacy activities to encourage collaborative faculty work."

Radford University: McConnell Library

http://library.radford.edu/
Candice Benjes-Small, MLIS, Head, Information Literacy & Outreach
cbsmall@radford.edu
The Information Literacy Team continuously communicates and collaborates with partners inside the library and elsewhere on campus. Librarians participate on university-wide curriculum committees, insuring that information literacy remains a vital component of the education program.  Classroom faculty and librarians discuss learning objectives before each instruction session and assessment occurs afterward. These practices apply to courses in the core curriculum as well as disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses. Librarians share all instruction-related materials, and follow up with faculty late in the semester to gather feedback on instructional impact.

The University of Manchester Library

http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/ 
Jade Kelsall, eLearning Technologist 
jade.kelsall@manchester.ac.uk 
Librarians are key players and stakeholders in the My Learning Essentials skills support program, the University of Manchester’s vehicle for supporting collaborative efforts between library staff, trainers, academics and others across the University. MLE is a blended program that combines an “open" strand of self-directed instruction through online resources and drop-in skills clinics with a “curriculum-linked” strand of class sessions and embedded instruction. Strong ties between those who create, deliver and support the MLE allow for continuous development of the program and support for students. Collaboration at the University of Manchester’s Library is well thought-out and extensive, and takes place at every stage, from the design of the calendar of support for the year, to the end-of-term assessment of each strand. 

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: University Libraries

https://www.library.unlv.edu/
Melissa Bowles-Terry, Head of Educational Initiatives 
melissa.bowles-terry@unlv.edu
UNLV Libraries lead a faculty development initiative, the UNLV Libraries Faculty Institutes, in which librarians collaborate with instructional faculty to integrate learning outcomes, including critical thinking and inquiry, into course syllabi. The outcome of numerous partnerships between the library and other academic units, the Institutes have operated since 2010 and represent both a recognition of librarians' expertise in matters of instructional design and a foundation for further collaboration between librarians and course instructors.

Category 7: Pedagogy

Purdue University Libraries

https://www.lib.purdue.edu
Beth McNeil, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
memcneil@purdue.edu
Purdue University libraries faculty pursue professional development in pedagogy through the Purdue IMPACT program in course redesign, a library-partnered initiative; their own hosted IL Research Symposium; and the ACRL's Immersion program, in which six Purdue librarians have participated in the past five years. Purdue librarians are adept at an array of teaching strategies including problem-based learning, flipped and blended classes and embedding. Their instruction has been recognized through librarian Professor Hal Kirkwood's inclusion in Purdue's Book of Great Teachers (2013) and through several librarians winning the Purdue Libraries Excellence in Teaching Award. Purdue's libraries are in the forefront of pursuing relevant learning technology through their construction of the award-winning Active Learning Classroom in the Roland G. Parrish Library and the Active Learning Center under construction, "a learning commons for the 21st Century."

The University of Manchester Library

http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/
Jade Kelsall, eLearning Technologist
jade.kelsall@manchester.ac.uk
The My Learning Essentials program at the University of Manchester features an extensive set of high-quality online tutorials with interactive elements and downloadable media. These tutorials in turn help support two student learning programs: an open program in which students are able to pursue their own learning through tutorials and in-person workshops, and a curriculum-linked program in which the online tutorials are supplemented by face-to-face class sessions. This two-pronged approach highlights the transferable nature of IL skills. Diverse instructional approaches are employed throughout, empowering students to take ownership of the learning process in any format.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: University Libraries

https://www.library.unlv.edu/ 
Melissa Bowles-Terry, Head of Educational Initiatives 
melissa.bowles-terry@unlv.edu
UNLV librarians have produced a highly-developed Instruction Framework setting university-integrated information literacy outcomes as learning goals for students at multiple levels. This assessment-as-learning orientation has enabled a collective shift of focus, from showing students content to students showing their abilities in an environment of active learning and appropriately integrated technology. Instructors are supported by a bi-monthly teaching circle, a locally-created instruction tool box, professional development opportunities, and help with the creation of digital learning objects.

University of Northern Colorado Libraries

http://library.unco.edu/
Andrea Falcone, Head of Instructional Services, Library Operations
andrea.falcone@unco.edu
University of Northern Colorado’s Instructional Services librarians are committed to “engaging students with diverse, experiential activities that reinforce critical thinking, recursive learning, and critical and creative problem solving” through their first-year Core Library Instruction Program (CLIP). For example, Summon Bingo and the Summon Puzzle teach the use of the library’s discovery tool with gaming and kinesthetic activities; these activities are easily scalable for class size and available technologies.  The Instructional Services Department also offers for-credit classes that include, for example, a creative writing assignment with citation requirements that has produced enthusiastic student responses, and Citation Relay, a team-based competitive framework that teaches original citation writing. 

University of Rhode Island: University Libraries

http://web.uri.edu/library/
Mary C. MacDonald, Head of Instructional Services
marymac@uri.edu
The University of Rhode Island Instruction Services and Information Literacy program covers both credit bearing courses and comprehensive outreach courses to the first year writing program and first year engineering students. URI Librarians take full advantage of technology-integrated classrooms to assess student learning in credit-bearing courses through presentation projects. Many of the pedagogical techniques used at URI are outlined in the book written by URI librarians, Teaching Information Literacy: 50 Standards-based Exercises for College Students (Burkhardt, MacDonald, and Rathemacher. Chicago: ALA 2010).

Category 8: Staffing

Radford University: McConnell Library

http://library.radford.edu/
Candice Benjes-Small, MLIS, Head, Information Literacy & Outreach
cbsmall@radford.edu
All new Radford Instruction Librarians are required to complete comprehensive on-the-job training that includes pedagogical & curriculum reading lists, peer observation, team teaching, and assessment as described in a 2013 Virginia Libraries article. Instruction librarians receive continual feedback from the Information Literacy Coordinator during monthly meetings and are formally evaluated each year. Additionally, self-assessment is required each semester, and librarians complete observational assessments under the direction of the Assessment Librarian. Librarians are also active participants in Radford’s Our Turn faculty training & orientation courses and receive training on campus each semester. Topic areas for Our Turn include pedagogy, personal growth & development, student support, and research & publishing. Librarians receive funding to attend two major conferences and an unlimited number of continuing education programs in topic areas of their choosing.

Category 9: Outreach

California State University San Marcos: Kellogg Library

http://biblio.csusm.edu/ 
Yvonne Nalani Meulemans, Director, Information Literacy Program 
ymeulema@csusm.edu 
All librarians in the Information Literacy Program (ILP) at CSU San Marcos Library are responsible for outreach and consider it to be a core function of the ILP. Librarians partner with disciplinary faculty to provide information literacy instruction and to integrate it across the curriculum. Another goal is to grow relationships with students via instructional experiences in the classroom and during reference encounters. Librarians aim to do more than “just provide answers”, striving to develop students’ understanding of the inquiry process and sparking their newfound curiosity as student-scholars. In addition, the Outreach Librarian coordinates the curricularly-based “Context: Library Series” and the Common Read. In collaboration with disciplinary faculty, the Outreach Librarian crafts assignments and learning opportunities for students related to these exhibits and shared intellectual experiences. The Institutional Repository Librarian also works with faculty and administration on several issues surrounding scholarly communication and intellectual property.

Chattanooga State Community College: Kolwyck Library & Information Commons

http://library.chattanoogastate.edu/
Brittany Richardson, Coordinator of Library Instruction
brittany.richardson@chattanoogastate.edu
Librarians at Chattanooga State Community College participate actively and creatively in information literacy outreach efforts both within the institutional curriculum and with outside partners. Librarians participate extensively in their college's faculty training series, the Teaching and Learning Academy, and in the Writers at Work curriculum which brings a studied author to campus, among other projects. Beyond the institution, librarians reach out to work with middle-school students and high school STEM students. These exemplary outreach projects clearly demonstrate the value of information literacy education to their targeted audiences and to the institution and community as a whole.

Purdue University Libraries

https://www.lib.purdue.edu
Beth McNeil, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
memcneil@purdue.edu
Purdue University Libraries' faculty members reach out through teaching and co-teaching courses in other campus units, including the Science and Honors Colleges. As a response to the university's Foundations of Excellence initiative, they are currently working to integrate IL into the first-year experience. The library also partners with instructors in the IMPACT program, helping to lead course redesign efforts. The libraries' annual publication is VOLUMe; their staff newsletter is INSIDe; in addition, their website hosts a blog and frequent press releases. Within the library, "Cool Signs" display animated video on LCD screens for instructional and marketing messages. Information Literacy Month is celebrated in October with banners, press releases and events. Purdue's librarians have an extensive record of reaching out through scholarly communication; their publications may be found in the Purdue e-Pubs repository.

Radford University: McConnell Library

http://library.radford.edu/
Candice Benjes-Small, MLIS, Head, Information Literacy & Outreach
cbsmall@radford.edu
Radford librarians' active involvement in outreach is an essential part of their instruction team's core goals. Library instruction is embedded in general education courses, and the team tailors one-shot instruction sessions to meet faculty and student needs using an Instruction Menu for faculty. IL skill workshops are advertised through several channels. Exceptional outreach outside the institution is showcased through professional publications and presentations and participation in a peer observation program, Library Exchange Observation, which involves local academic libraries. 

Category 10: Assessment/Evaluation

University of North Carolina Wilmington: Randall Library

http://library.uncw.edu/
Anne Pemberton, Associate Director, Library Assessment and Instructional Services
pembertona@uncw.edu
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) assesses information literacy at the session, course, program and institutional levels. Information Literacy is one of UNCW’s Learning Goals, and the General Education curriculum (called “University Studies”) clearly defines IL requirements from the first semester into the major. Students are required to complete nine (9) hours of information literacy intensive courses, which must qualify as such through rigorous evaluation and which take part in an ongoing assessment and program improvement process. As for information literacy instruction sessions, each has specific student learning outcomes assessed through various activities and assignments. In addition, the university is in the midst of a pilot program to test transfer students on IL skills so that all students, both “native” and transfer, are required to demonstrate their IL skills prior to graduation.