Information Literacy: The Role of the Library in Ensuring Student Success
Inter-Institutional Committee of Chief Librarians
January 31, 2006
For over a decade, the Inter-Institutional Committee of Chief Librarians (ICCL) has
worked collaboratively through the Council of Presidents to significantly enhance access
to library and information resources. The highly successful Cooperative Library Project
and the award-winning Orbis Cascade Alliance with its powerful Summit program
demonstrate how deep and sustained collaborations can contain costs and transform
research, instruction, and the delivery of library services.
ICCL seeks to build on these successful collaborations by partnering with the community
and technical colleges to enhance academic success for all students enrolled in
Washington State higher education institutions by developing shared learning goals for
Articulating information literacy skills and principles that rising juniors need to succeed
and implementation of programs to support the realization of these learning goals will
have multiple benefits for higher education in Washington State:
Elimination of redundancy of educational effort
Enhanced learning experience for all students
Assurance that graduates of Washington higher education institutions have
attained levels of information literacy that allow them to be contributing members
of an increasingly knowledge and technology based society and economy.
ICCL charged a group of librarians with significant expertise and experience in
information literacy to draft a set of information literacy learning outcomes expected of
“rising juniors.” These learning outcomes apply to students regardless of whether the
freshman and sophomore coursework is taken at a community and technical college or at
a baccalaureate institution. The list of basic skills and principles will serve as a
foundation for continued and enhanced programmatic and pedagogical collaboration
among the community and technical colleges and baccalaureate institutions.
Information Literacy Learning Outcomes for Rising Juniors
at Washington State Higher Education Institutions
The student should:
Be able to shape a basic research question appropriate to the topic and to the
audience; be able to modify or revise research questions to achieve a manageable
Demonstrate a basic understanding of the types of information resources available
and distinguish which ones are relevant to the task; formulate effective search
Begin to explore how researchers formulate questions and use specific research
methods to generate evidence and support conclusions.
Recognize differences between popular and scholarly information.
Recognize differences between primary and secondary sources.
Gain a sense of when and what type of web sources are appropriate to a given
Understand that there are multiple approaches to research; be flexible, creative,
and resourceful in using research strategies.
Practice critical assessment of sources (i.e. usefulness, authorship, currency, point
of view, bias, use of evidence, etc.)
Demonstrate basic skills in summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing information
from a wide variety of sources.
Incorporate an understanding of their personal values and biases when making
inferences and drawing conclusions about sources of information; reflect upon
their own assertions.
Appreciate that there are ethical issues inherent in research.
Communicate results of research (via written, oral, or visual means) meeting
standards of organization, evidence, coherence, and correctness.
Be aware of institutional regulations concerning plagiarism and academic
Know how and when to document sources using an appropriate citation format.
Understand the role of library professionals and faculty in guiding them towards
reliable information resources and effective research methods.