Information Literacy Program

The library supports the college’s defining characteristic as “a community of inquiry” through programs which develop skillful approaches to seeking and using information. Information literacy is a critical underpinning for all else that takes place in the academic library, assuring that students will make informed decisions about their information needs and how to fulfill them.  Concepts and approaches to information literacy are taught in multiple ways at Dickinson College:  through formal library instruction classes, through assignments developed within academic courses, in workshops, in individual consultations, and via materials accessible on our website.  

The Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College is a teaching and learning laboratory. As part of the overall mission of Dickinson College, the Library nurtures information literacy as a lifelong learning process. The librarians are committed, in conjunction with the faculty of the College, to provide useful instruction in the location, evaluation and utilization of information in its many different forms.


Student Learning

In keeping with the Association of College and Research Libraries’ “Information Literacy Competency Standards ,” the librarians of Waidner-Spahr strive to make each student at Dickinson College a competent, efficient, and critical information gatherer, by teaching them how to:

  • Recognize when information is needed
  • Determine/select what available resources are the most appropriate for each investigation
  • Phrase appropriate lines of questioning to begin research/Designs effective search strategies/Determines when and if initial search queries should be revised
  • Locate/retrieve/acquire information determined to be valuable
  • Critically evaluate the relevancy of the information gathered
  • Use the acquired information for knowledge comparisons and added value
  • Appropriately acknowledge/cite resources
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to the economic, legal and social issues associated with information retrieval.

Program Goals

To effect student learning, liaison librarians continually strive to develop and maintain strong partnerships with faculty members from all academic disciplines, in order to integrate progressive information literacy programs to students at all four levels of the study of their major. Our program goals (TACIT) are designed with student learning in mind:


Teach Dickinson students to become information literate.

  • Provide foundational information literacy learning via the First-Year Seminar program.
  • Develop a comprehensive and systematic information literacy support plan for each major.
  • Communicate standards of academic integrity and plagiarism prevention.

Assess local information literacy practice to improve existing programs and create opportunities for new ones.

  • Establish measurable outcomes for the general information literacy program, and for departmental programs.
  • Evaluate the information literacy skill sets of the student body at representative times during their educational experience.
  • Periodically assess department information literacy programs for effectiveness and improvement.
  • Evaluate classroom instruction activities to assure usefulness and alignment with course goals.

Collaborate with appropriate constituents to create the best information literacy learning environment for students and foster life-long learning.

  • Faculty: collaborate to provide major- and course-integrated instruction. 
  • Academic Advising: collaborate to provide information about academic integrity and plagiarism prevention.
  • Other campus offices:  Seek and develop opportunities to enhance information literacy skill sets outside the classroom with office such as the Writing Center, Center for Global Study & Engagement, Career Center, Admissions, etc.

Increase awareness among faculty, students and administrators of information literacy and its benefits and importance to academic success.

  • Communicate the information literacy program mission and goals formally and informally across campus via department meetings, individual liaison meetings, and through committee interaction (APSC, P&B, SXC, etc.).
  • Include information literacy goals, concepts and skills in all classroom instruction involving a librarian. 
  • Market information literacy in the library’s promotional efforts.

Train librarians in best practices for teaching and assessing information literacy skill sets.    

  • Identify training opportunities such as ACRL’s Immersion program.
  • Provide funding and travel time for professional development opportunities.
  • Facilitate peer learning within the library.


Updated February 14, 2013