Advocate for IL

As librarians we know that much of what we do does not reach a large audience. The following information will introduce you to important points to consider when speaking out about libraries and about information literacy.


   Individual Faculty back to top

Ask a professor for whom you are currently presenting a library orientation session, what their greatest challenge is in terms of student research paper quality. Propose a way to address that one challenge.

Give a professor a copy of "Desperately seeking citations: Uncovering faculty assumptions about undergraduate research." by Leckie, Gloria J.; Journal of Academic Librarianship, May 1996, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p201.

Give a department chair or professor a copy of the Information Literacy standards brochure and describe how they can be used in classroom assessment and program accreditation.

Meet with all new faculty, give them a copy of the standards brochure or web site and describe at least one other successful collaboration on campus.

Ask to see course syllabi and review each for research projects. E-mail faculty you are available for an orientation session; then discuss options for library guidance with their research project. Use the strategy to start a dialog and proceed later with more options.

Team up with one faculty member to design assessment tools for a library research project. Use it as a springboard for other classes and collaborations.

Describe how the standards are already being used in faculty courses, and illustrate how already established specific assignments with slight modifications will lead to assessable outcomes.

   Departmental, Program or Campus back to top

Approach department chairs with a proposal for a study involving a specific course. For example: English composition

Get involved with campus curriculum issues by becoming a member of a campus curriculum committee or task force. If you are not eligible to be a committee member ask to meet with the chair. Pass out the IL standards at those events and describe how they are being used.

Start an Information Literacy Discussion group on campus.

Use one of these PowerPoint presentations (link will open in PowerPoint):

Information Literacy Competency Standards and Student Learning Outcomes
Originally developed by Patricia Iannuzzi (UC Berkeley) this presentation entitled defines information literacy, provides a brief overview of the Standards and introduced the use of the Standards for assessement.

Information Literacy and Higher Education
The Rochester Regional Library Council, with a LSTA grant, developed several presentations available on their website. This one is particularly suited for a general higher education audience as it defines the concepts of information literacy, its benefits and techniques for teaching it.

   Other Professional Organizations and Accreditation Bodies back to top

Be aware of the accreditation review cycle for your department and introduce the IL standards as an assessment tool.

Approach other campus departments or organizations working with assessment or competency standards. Introduce yourself and start by listening to their challenges.

    Grant Opportunities back to top

Find granting opportunities such as on-campus faculty development grants. Set up partnerships with individual faculty to apply for those grants.

One system offers a grant to academic departments for incorporating information competence into the learning outcomes of their programs. A stipulation is that librarians must be included in a significant way.

   Further Reading back to top

Take a look at some introductory points we've outlined for faculty and administrators.

The Library Advocate's Handbook is a good place to start. It has general information and suggestions for building support in the local community and on dealing with both the media and with government leaders.

"A Library Advocate's Guide to Building Information Literate Communities." is more focused on advocating for information literacy, it provides simple yet powerful messages to share with those who do not yet know about the importance of information literacy.

   Advocates From The Business World back to top

(compiled by Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL)

Education, governments, and industry are all trying to build their intellectual capacity, their learning capacity, and their ability to apply knowledge. Countries all over the world are aspiring to be "knowledge nations" and acknowledging that knowledge, not technology or finance, is the core component of innovation. Nurturing and managing the flow of knowledge may be the most distinctive competence of the decade.

Terry Crane, Vice-President for Education Products, AOL, writes in the September 2000 issue of Converge, "Young people need a baseline of communication, analytical, and technical skills. We are no longer teaching about technology, but about information literacy-which is the process of turning information into meaning, understanding and new ideas. Students need the thinking, reasoning, and civic abilities that enable them to succeed in-and ultimately lead-a contemporary democratic economy, workforce, and society."

Sky Dayton, Founder and chairman of EarthLink, when asked in December 2000 what in his own education was responsible for his current success, said: "The ability to do research, to further educate myself in any subject, to analyze information and make my own conclusions were skills I learned in my high school."

Anthony Comper, president of the Bank of Montreal, told the 1999 graduating class at the University of Toronto that information literacy is essential to success in the next millennium, "Whatever else you bring to the 21st century workplace, however great your technical skills and however attractive your attitude and however deep your commitment to excellence, the bottom line is that to be successful, you need to acquire a high level of information literacy. What we in the knowledge industries need are people who know how to absorb and analyze and integrate and create and effectively convey information-and who know how to use information to bring real value to everything they undertake."