Annotations for "Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline"


Excellence has been a topic of discussion throughout the development of these characteristics, both within the Best Practices groups and with outside contributors. The usual question is "Can a program which exemplifies only some or most of the characteristics be considered excellent?" Because these characteristics are meant to be considered within the context of an individual library and its institution, it is probable that some characteristics would be inappropriate for some information literacy programs. Therefore, a program could be considered excellent that incorporates only some of the characteristics.

information literacy

It is recognized that institutions may use other terms and definitions.

mission statement

The mission statement describes the overall purpose of the organization. It may reflect the values and priorities for the organization. (Jeffrey Abrahams. The Mission Statement Book: 301 Corporate Mission Statements from America’s Top Companies. Revised. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1999.)

Examples of mission statements:

The mission of the Pollak Library Instruction Program is to prepare CSUF students to be successful information seekers in a rapidly changing technological environment. At the core of this mission is the commitment to the concept of Information Literacy as outlined by the California State University. (California State University, Fullerton)

The Ohio State University Libraries strives to provide the highest quality in-person, online, and print instruction to teach the skills needed to identify, locate, evaluate, and use all types of information resources. (Ohio State University)

institutional constituencies

Examples of institutional constituencies include the library/ies, students, faculty (adjunct and tenure-track), institutional support services, centers and programs.

goals and objectives

Goals are the "qualitative and quantitative statements of what the [organization] wishes to achieve over a measurable future. These should be internally consistent and fit the mission." Objectives are "specific short- and long-term quantitative results which directly support the objectives measured as key performance indicators." ( The Concise Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998. p. 635)


Programs in this instance refers to interdisciplinary courses of study that draw on faculty from more than one department of an institution. Examples include Agricultural Economics, Engineering Management, American Studies, African American Studies.


This use of "articulate" means to "clearly present." ( Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1997.)

environmental scans

Environmental scanning is "the systematic collection of external information" related to "social, economic, and political" trends that may affect an organization’s future. ("Environmental Scanning," by James L Morrison. In Meredith A. Whiteley, John D. Porter, and Robert H. Fenske, eds.  The Primer for Institutional Research. Tallahassee, FL: The Association for Institutional Research, 1992, pp. 86-99.)

faculty, librarians

Librarians in many institutions are faculty; the use of faculty and librarians in this instance is strictly a way of differentiating between librarians and teaching faculty or instructors.

formal and informal mechanisms

Formal mechanisms may include official reports or documentation, meetings, forums etc. Informal may include e-mail, phone, hallway conversations, websites for running threaded conversations, etc.

academic community

Academic community may include anyone associated with a particular institution such as faculty, staff, administration, and students (distant or on-campus), as well as higher education associations, school districts, and accrediting agencies.


Articulation refers to "the coordination of programs and/or activities [specifically information literacy instruction] from level to level" or throughout a program or a student’s years in college. (Edward L. Dejnozka, Educational Administration Glossary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983.)


Although in this document, the terms evaluation and assessment are used interchangeably, for educators these terms have different meanings. For example, according to Frank Hodnett, "Evaluation is to determine significance or worth or judging the effectiveness or worth of educational programs. Assessment is to determine a rate or amount and is used as an activity to measure student learning and other human characteristics. Put more simply we assess people and evaluate things or objects." (Frank Hodnett, Evaluation vs. Assessment, Spring 2001 <> Word Document)


Leadership refers to who is in charge of the program, how the leadership fits into the organizational structure of the institution, and who is expected to participate in the program, including any support staff.

other program staff

In this instance, program staff refers to an information literacy program’s staff, and could include any of the academic support units or centers on campus, such as learning centers, teaching centers, and IT units.


In many institutions this would mean that such involvements and achievements would be acknowledged as important in the awarding of tenure and/or promotion. In most, it would certainly count for yearly performance assessments and salary increases.

governance structures

Governance structures are the bodies in an institution that have authority over the decision-making process of that institution.


Collaboration implies not only cooperation, but also active sharing in the work of the instructional program.

media resources

Media resources may include films or videos, audio programs, or any other type of media that can facilitate instruction.

media channels

Media channels may include radio, television, student newspapers, faculty newsletters, and any other such news sources for the institution. It could also include media channels directly connected to the library such as library newsletters and websites.

formal and informal

Formal channels include radio, television, student newspapers, faculty newsletters, library newsletters and websites. Informal channels include department meetings, signage, billboards, e-mail, classes.

student outcomes

Student outcomes evaluation should not only measure how much students have learned but also the teaching processes that are used for learning.

formative and summative

Formative and summative and short-term and longitudinal are only two methods of evaluation. Other methods may be more appropriate for the purposes of the evaluation.

process and product

Student outcomes should be measured in terms of the quality of the product as well as the processes the student used to create the product.