Are You Information Literate?

By Rose Petralia

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

~James Madison, The Founders’ Constitution Volume 1, Chapter 18, Document 35

October is National Information Literacy Awareness Month, and it is Evans Library’s mission to help FIT’s students, faculty, and staff “arm themselves with the power” that information literacy skills deliver.

Definitions vary, but at its core, information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and use information ethically and for a specific purpose. The American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries, in its Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, has identified five core characteristics of the information literate student, summarized below:

  • Determines the type and depth of information needed
  • Accesses the right information effectively and efficiently
  • Critically evaluates information and incorporate it as knowledge
  • Uses information for a specific purpose individually or in groups
  • Accesses and uses information ethically and legally

The ability to find information resources, evaluate information for accuracy and relevance, and incorporate information as knowledge is essential, whether you are writing a freshman English paper, delivering a presentation about the ethics of genetic engineering, or discussing the current political environment with your peers.

Now that you know a little bit more about what information literacy is, stay tuned for some ways that Evans Library can help you to “forever govern ignorance.”

As always, if you have questions, Ask a Librarian.

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