Undergraduate Education Information Literacy Program

For further assistance in using any of the resources in the Lab, please ask at the Curriculum Lab Information Services Desk

Information Literacy Defined:

The American Library Association (1989) defines information literacy as an individual's skill to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

American Library Association (1989). Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. Final Report. Chicago: American Library Association, 1989. Retrieved June 22, 2005 from http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/whitepapers/progressreport.htm.

Information Literacy is Important:

The Association of College and Research Libraries (2005) emphasizes that "the uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively."

Information Literacy Program Objectives:

Any information literate individual is able to:

  • determine the extent of information needed
  • access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • evaluate information and its sources critically
  • incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base
  • use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.

    Association of College and Research Libraries (2005). Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. American Library Association. Retrieved June 22, 2005 from http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/informationliteracycompetency.htm.

Where Information Literacy is Taught:

"Students learn research skills more readily when the skills are integrated into the curriculum, and ....viewed by students as relevant to their needs" (Alberta Education, 1990, p. 9). To that end:

      1. Elements of information literacy are found in many, if not all, of the undergraduate courses.
      2. The Curriculum Laboratory staff often work with individual students in helping them become information literate.
      3. The following types of formal information literacy sessions are taught by Curriculum Laboratory staff. Our formal sessions are taught "at point of need," and related to specific class assignments. These formal sessions help students get answers to the following questions:
        • PSI Semester orientation:
          • What exactly is the Curriculum Laboratory, and what resources does it give me access to, in helping me with my assignments?
          • How do I find education information in the main library collection, and in the on-line and in-print education journals?
          • As an Education student, what educational digital resource subscriptions do I have access to, which will help me with my assignments and school placements?
          • What research process can I use to find most of the practical teaching information and materials I will need during my time in the Faculty of Education?
          • How do I find information on many of the educational issues I will be introduced to?
        • Curriculum and Instruction module orientation:
          • What are the different kinds of curriculum publications?
          • How do I find them, both in paper and electronic formats?
          • Given the fact of limited resources:
            • How best should I plan to access the resources?
            • How can I find lesson plans for my teaching assignments, both in-print and on-line?
        • Literature Fair:
          • How can I use, and enjoy children's and young adult literature in creative ways, across the curriculum?
        • Language in Education module orientation:
          • How do I find good quality children's and young adult literature?
          • How do I find book reviews and/or information on authors, both in-print and on-line?
          • What are the main literary genres, and how do I find recommended lists of titles for each genre?
          • What resources are mandated for the language arts program?
        • Post-PSI orientation sessions:
          • How do I find information related to specific school subjects?
          • Curriculum Laboratory staff teach lessons on finding information specific to many of the courses and assignments after the PSI semester. Many of these handouts used in these sessions can be found at: http://www.uleth.ca/edu/currlab/handouts.cfm#school.

Search Strategy For Finding Teaching Materials

Research has clearly shown the importance of teaching information literacy skills to the grade K-12 students in our schools. As such, information literacy skills are a component of all Alberta curriculum, at all grades (Alberta Learning, 2004, p. ix). At the grade Kindergarten to grade 12 level, information literacy skills are called "research skills" or "inquiry-based learning." The following curriculum documents support these skills:

Alberta Education (1985). Focus on learning: an integrated program model for Alberta school libraries. Edmonton: Alberta Education.

Alberta Education (1990). Focus on research. Alberta Education.

Alberta Learning (2004). Focus on inquiry: a teacher's guide to implementing inquiry-based learning. 375 LibMed Alta (This document is an update of Alberta Education's 1990 document, "Focus on research.")


Prepared July 2005 by Bill Glaister. Updated July 2009.