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International Journal of Library Science and Research (IJLSR) ISSN(P): 2250-2351; ISSN(E): 2321-0079 Vol. 3, Issue 5, Dec 2013, 1-6 © TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.

INFORMATION LITERACY IN COLLEGE LIBRARIES: A BIRD'S EYE VIEW UMESH KUMAR. Y1, U. S. VIJAYARAJKUMAR2 & MURALIDHARA. K3 1

Associate Professor & Head Library & Information Centre, Hasanath College for Women, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India 2

Senior Librarian, V H D Home Science College, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

3

Research Scholar, Bharathidasan University, Trichunappali, Tamil Nadu, India

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” - Alvin Toffler

ABSTRACT The paper throws light with the Introduction to Information Literacy (IL), its Origin and need for IL in the present ICT Era. The Benefits, Problems in implementing the Information Literacy, the role of Librarians in Promoting the IL Programs and the Milestones achieved relating to IL are also highlighted in the article. Finally with the Conclusion as to how Information Literacy has become an essential tool for successful lifelong learning and the measures that need to be taken by the higher education Commissions and Committees, and the College authorities for successful production of Under Graduates and Post Graduates to meet the challenges of the present changing Information Technology Environment. KEYWORDS: Information Literacy, Information Empowerment, Information Competence, Informacy, Information Skills, ICT Skills, Library Skills, Higher Education, College Libraries

INTRODUCTION With the emergence of Information and communication technologies in the 21 st century, vast changes have taken place in the field of Higher education, Libraries and Information centres & Library and Information Profession is no Exception to these changes. In this changing complex of Globalization, and Information Explosion, in the higher education sector and the College environment, every student is expected to adapt the sophisticated Information gathering techniques to locate, organize, evaluate and use the information effectively in order to be successful in their Individual endeavors. Here comes the Information Literacy Program, wherein by teaching the Information Literacy Skills to the students makes them an effective user of information in the context of the prevailing education system and also prepares them to cope up with the contemporary learning challenges. The concept of Information Literacy (IL) has been playing a very prominent and significant role among the academic population of Higher education system in India. The idea behind the IL is to make the Individuals and organizations aware of how the machine handling systems can be of great help in identifying, accessing, analyzing, and obtaining data and documents needed for problem solving and decision making activities. The IL helps the library users to develop fundamental skills of information use which has become a pre-requisite for every individual to actively participate in the present information technology society. The importance of IL programs bridge the skills and the knowledge gaps among the Library and information professional and the students of the colleges and also act as activators of lifelong learning process which has become the need of the hour today. Information Literacy in a broad concept embraces the Information Skills, ICT Skills, and Library Skills along with the Problem- solving and Cognitive skills, and the attitudes and values that enable student learners to function effectively in the information landscape.


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Umesh Kumar. Y, U. S. Vijayarajkumar & Muralidhara. K

Information Literacy is also a set of Competencies that provide student with a foundation for academic Coursework, effective job performance, active citizenship and lifelong learning. In the Globalization of technology and increase in quantity of information from all sources of information like various types of documents, media and Internet have given rise to the question about the authencity, credibility, and reliability of information. This uncertain quality and expending quantity of information which has posed huge

challenges to information users and the information science

professionals can be solved to a great extent through the IL programs and skills acquired by the users during their study. Origin of Information Literacy (IL) The term Information Literacy has evolved from the library instructions, Bibliographic orientation and user education. The concept of information literacy was first introduced in 1974 by Paul Zurkowski President of the U S information Industry Association, in a proposal submitted to the National Commission on libraries and information science (NCLIS). He recommended that a national Program be established to achieve universal information Literacy within the next decade. In the present day the term Information Literacy has been used as Info-Literacy, Informacy, Information Empowerment, information competence, information literacy skills, information Handling Skills, Information Problem solving Skills etc. by different people in different ways. Need of Information Literacy in Academic Colleges The Academic Colleges after admitting the students to its campus will have an opportunity and a challenge to prepare the admitted students to meet the demands of the present information age. Also the college needs to identify what their students should know and be able to do during the course study, thereby producing Fresh Information Literate graduates and Post graduates who will in turn be a Graduate with social responsibility and a good citizenship to meet the challenges of the present Information technology age thereby shaping the Information Society of which he / she is a part. All this is possible only when the college authorities incorporate the Information literacy Programs into the curriculum and develop programs that will immerse students into information Literacy throughout their Study in the College Campus. Through the IL programs the students are encouraged, enhanced and Incorporated into Logical thinking and research skills amongst the Individual. The students should acquire the knowledge to demonstrate their competency not only in writing their assignments, Project reports and research papers in the field of Arts, science, Commerce Management, and Science and technology but also in unique areas such as experimentation, laboratory research, and Presentations. The main aim and Objective of the college Library is to provide a set of standards that can be used by students, educators, in the context of their institution's mission, to guide the information literacy- related instruction and to assess the student's progress. There have been several Factors which have stressed the need for implementation of IL programs and skills among the information users specially the student community of the Academic colleges which are as follows: 

Information Explosion

Globalization of higher education

Changes in the teaching & Learning Process/ styles

To survive & sustain in the present information technology era

To make students as life- long learners

To develop critical thinking ability amongst the students


Information Literacy in College Libraries: A Bird's Eye View

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To develop a sense of decision making ability among the users.

Stages of Information Literacy Model and Process 

Task Definition

Information Seeking Strategies

Location and Access

Use of Information

Synthesis

Evaluation

Benefits of Information Literacy in Academic Colleges 

The major benefit of IL programs to the students in the academic colleges is that of imparting Value skills and Training, which in turn leads to effective and efficient use of the Information Sources and information database for a better and overall educational achievement. In addition the IL is also beneficial to the students which are as follows:

IL helps the students to explore & learn about the different kinds of resources which include both print and electronic media, how to select the right sources for different tasks and actions.

IL helps the students to develop the ability to compare, evaluate, and extract the information from different sources and to select the accurate and the most reliable information sources.

IL helps the students to develop competence in constructing strategies for locating and accessing the required information.

IL helps the students to develop ability to organize, apply, and communicate information effectively. This skill includes accurate citation, good use of language, and respect for copyright and avoid of plagiarism.

IL helps the students to develop ability to synthesize and build upon the existing information and thereby contributing to and creation of new Knowledge.

IL also helps the students in motivating them to become independent and lifelong Learners.

Information Literacy is the key to the empowerment, development and happiness.

Problems in implementing IL Program in Academic Colleges There are a few problems which need to be solved for promoting the Information Literacy programs in Academic colleges which are as follows: •

Lack of Policies relating to IL.

Non-availability of Resources

Non-availability of library Staff

Lack of Proactively by the library Staff


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Umesh Kumar. Y, U. S. Vijayarajkumar & Muralidhara. K

Lack of creation of Partnership among Library Staff and the Faculty of the college in mainstreaming the Information Literacy programs

Fostering a willingness to learn Information literacy in Students of the Academic colleges.

The Role of Librarians in Promoting IL Programs In Higher educational Institutions like Degree and Post Graduate Colleges,the library professionals play a highly responsible role in promotion and implementation of IL programs through the co-ordination of the teaching staff and the support of the college administrators. Thus to promote the information Literacy effectively the Library professionals need to perform the functions which are as follows: •

To make IL needful to the students

To Plan & design IL Course in collaboration with the teaching staff

To develop Information Literacy Curriculum

To find out the effective method of teaching Information Literacy to students

To plan & Discuss the ways of teacher involvement in teaching IL to students

To implement the designed IL program in collaboration with teaching staff with the support from the college administrators

To collect the feedback of the students experience on IL program with the help of the teaching staff

And to access the effectiveness of Information Literacy Program and try to improve it if necessary with modifications

Some of the Library Services Which Enhance the Information Literacy Skills in the User/Student of an Academic College Are as Follows •

Library workshops which help students learn how to use electronic database and the internet.

Library Information guides and Tutorials for using resources, citing resources, and using the databases which are available in print and on the library's Web page

Helping students who are in trouble in finding resources for their research topics, assignments, and Project work through scheduled research consultation with the librarian

The library's web page is a portal to the resources offered by the library as well as providing links to other excellent resources

Library web 2.0 concepts which have led to the development and evolution of web based communities, hosted services, and applications, such as social- networking sited, video-sharing sited, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. The Library is an extension of the classroom for self-directed learning. The libraries and information centres in an

Academic college have a variety of collections beyond the traditional books, reference sources, and electronic databases, which includes the institutional archives rare books, unique manuscripts resources, digital imaging, web Design software and interactive multimedia, of which some will be extremely useful to the goals of the course undertaken by the student. The reference librarian of the Academic college Library shall facilitate the students learning by sharing access to the copies of the course syllabus and the assignments in advance.


Information Literacy in College Libraries: A Bird's Eye View

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Milestones Related to Information Literacy Worldwide 1989- Establishment of the national forum on Information literacy (NFIL) 1992- The ERIC education database began to use Information literacy as a descriptor. 1997- The national education association (NEA) made a commitment to embed information literacy in their teacher education initiatives. 2003- NFIL establishes the international Alliance on information literacy 2004- The partnership for 21st century skills identifies information literacy as a key student learning outcome. 2005- UNESCO / IFLA / NFIL sponsored symposium of information literacy experts in Alexandria, Egypt, producing the Alexandria proclamation. 2007- UNESCO published Understanding Information literacy 2008-The national council of teachers of English included information literacy skills in its framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment. 2009- American president Barack Obama issues a Presidential proclamation establishing October as National Information Literacy Awareness month.

CONCLUSIONS The concept of IL has gained considerable attention and significance among the higher education communities especially in present days. The higher educational institutions which include the colleges should also include the teaching of Lifelong skills in their college Vision and Mission. It has become an important and urgent task of the college/institution to help the students to develop the competency and become information wise citizens of Information and technology society which is possible only through implementation of IL programs. Also the higher education commissions & committies should design the national information literacy policies, programs, standards, and guidelines for successful implementation of the information literacy programs in the higher educational institutions, and also various professional bodies and organizations should organize seminars conferences and workshops on the need and importance of IL among the users of information. Thus to conclude we can sum up that information literacy has become an essential tool to successful lifelong learning, IL is a core competency in the present information age, IL contributes to the improvement of learning & teaching, and IL is one of the most critical literacy for an educated person in the 21st century. The Higher educational Institutions, university and Academic colleges should be aware of the importance of Information literacy and actively engage themselves in providing training and other kinds of support to the students so that they can be able to face the new challenges in the present competitive environment. Gone are the days when it was said that “Information for All” to the present day saying that “Information Literacy for All” in the present context of the information explosion and the emerging technologies of the future, the Information Literacy will be the only option and solution to adopt and solve the problems which may occur in future either from the current users or from the potential users of the future. The IL programs are the need of the hour to educate the users to develop the required skills in accessing the information which is available in various forms and formats in the present changing Information Technology Environment.


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Umesh Kumar. Y, U. S. Vijayarajkumar & Muralidhara. K

Long Live Information Literacy!

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