Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.
Student learning often involves reading and writing. Written assignments require students to independently search for, evaluate, and use information. Information comes in many different forms and it can be quite overwhelming for students to comprehend the complexity of today's media landscape. It is vital for students to gain knowledge on what kind of information can be used where and how generally within the academic context and specifically within a given subject discipline. This constitutes the nexus in which teaching faculty and subject librarians can collaborate in a fruitful way to create quality learning opportunities throughout the curriculum.
When teaching faculty describe what their students struggle with when using information to learn, three main challenges are described¹:
In working together, teaching faculty and subject librarians can co-create and facilitate student learning in multiple ways. Learning opportunities can take place off- or on-campus, flipped and/or in the classroom, with or without digital learning objects, as long as it means students being active learners. Throughout their studies students need knowledge on "how to manage, navigate and search the information“glut”¹ as well as how to "value of different types of sources"¹. Collaboration between teaching faculty and subject librarians can take place in different ways and can lead to various kinds of learning opportunities for the students. Co-creation may result in sessions of co-teaching. It may result in a co-created digital learning object to be used by the teacher/teachers alone. Sometimes the best outcome is the result of a librarian running workshops for the students in order for them to face the above-mentioned challenges. Either way, it's important to understand the benefits of collaboration between the library and the teaching faculty.
1) Dawes, L. (2017). Faculty perceptions of teaching information literacy to first-year students: A phenomenographic study. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, published online aug. 28. https://doi.org/10.1177/0961000617726129