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Information Literacy at Andrews University

James White Library strives to develop information literacy in Andrews University students so they may improve scholarship, create knowledge, achieve educational goals, and become lifelong learners.


We live in an age when more information is available than ever before. On a daily basis we are bombarded with information from radio, television, newspapers, magazines, journals, books, email, social media, and internet websites. Even if we wished to remember everything we see, hear, or read, our minds cannot absorb it all.

The online environment has revolutionized both the administration and delivery of information. In the academic setting, technology has transformed the classroom and the library. In addition to online books and articles, students must navigate and evaluate a myriad of online websites of varying types. How can they determine which resources best meet their information and research needs?

Information literacy is the key to understanding and thriving in the contemporary age. According to the American Library Association (2015), "Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning." Teaching faculty and librarians need to work together to ensure that students develop the skills needed to successfully achieve their university and life goals.


The Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, revised its information literacy competencies in 2015 with the document, "Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education." The Framework includes the following six concepts plus knowledge practices and dispositions which support each concept.

  • Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
Guidelines for Assessment

The following guidelines are intended to assist library faculty and teaching faculty in assessing their students' information literacy skills.

  • Competency Standards are based on the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) Information Literacy Value Rubric.
  • Short-term Skills are those needed to complete immediate assignments.
  • Responsibility to Teach refers to the party most likely to assess student learning in the specified area.
  • Lifelong Skills are those which students should use throughout their lives.
Competency Standard Short-term Skill
Responsibility to Teach
Lifelong Skill
Determine the nature and extent of the information needed

Understand the scope and key concepts of the assignment including the types of sources needed

Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty

Recognize when information is needed and know of possible sources of this information

Define the scope of the topic as needed Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty Sselect relevant information
Access needed information

Select appropriate investigative method such as literature search, experiment, etc.

Teaching Faculty

Understand how information is organized, created, and accessed
Use effective and well-designed search strategy Library Faculty Able to adapt and refine searching in source entities
Evaluate information and its sources critically

Choose sources appropriate to scope/discipline

Teaching Faculty

Think critically about information encountered in career as well as everyday life
Evaluate sources for relevance, bias, authority, credibility, currency, etc. Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty
Recognize document's relationship to other documents Teaching Faculty
Ues information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose

Communicate, organize, and synthesize information to achieve a purpose

Teaching Faculty

Incorporate information into everyday life and work in a useful and appropriate manner
Access and use information ethically and legally

Understand that information is not free with respect to time or money

Library Faculty

Value the creative process and its worth to society

Understand legal restrictions of copyrighted material Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty Abide by copyright law

Use citations and references correctly

Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty Understand ethics and the process of citing sources
Uses the Internet appropriately, passwords and privacy

Library Faculty & Teaching Faculty

Respect confidentiality and proprietary information

Library Assignments

Designing assignments that make effective use of library resources requires thought and planning. Library faculty are willing to teach class sessions and work with you in developing collaborative assignments to help students achieve these information literacy competency standards.

Characteristics of Good Assignments

"The perfect library assignment combines two aims: increase students' knowledge of the subject matter and skills for locating and using information." (Hardesty, Hastreiter, and Henderson, 1993, p. 89.) Here are some practical tips.

  • When adapting textbook assignments, make sure that our library has the needed resources. You may need to edit the assignment to include resources available in the James White Library or to reflect the Library's organization.
  • Distinguish between online articles and Websites. Your students do not necessarily know the difference between these two types of sources and may be hesitant to use online article databases if you tell them not to use the Web.
  • Provide boundaries. It is not necessary or good to ask students to compile a bibliography of everything about abortion in the Library. List the types of sources expected and encourage them to use critical thinking skills.
  • With some assignments, it may be helpful to do the assignment yourself ahead of time. This enables you to identify potential problems and to confirm that the Library has the needed resources. Do this far enough in advance so that if it is necessary, the Library can acquire needed materials.
  • If students need to use specific books, articles, or videos, put them on reserve to give students equal access to the materials.

Preparing Students for the Assignment

  • Bring the class to the library for instruction on the use of relevant resources.
  • Come with the class to the library instruction session. It is helpful for the teacher to know what the librarian has covered when students raise questions regarding the requirements of their assignment. It is also helpful for the students to see teaching faculty and library faculty working together in partnership.

Examples and Ideas

  • Compile annotated bibliographies in poreparation for writing a paper.
  • Identify and review relevant professional organizations, journals, and other sources of professional development in their chosen discipline.
  • Require students to consult books and journal articles when solving case studies, writing practice lesson plans, or preparing sermons.
  • Evaluate articles on the same topic from different sources: magazine, journal, newspaper.
Instructional Opportunities

The goal of our library instruction program is to help our users achieve information literacy. With this goal in mind, we provide a number of instructional services. Any of our services can be adapted to off-campus students.

  • Orientation tours show users around the library, provide a summary of library services, and teach users how to locate materials in a subject area.
  • Workshops are scheduled and hosted by the library each semester. Watch the Andrews Agenda, check the Library's calendar, or call 471-3283 to find out when the next workshop will be held.
  • Course-related instruction may be arranged at any time during the semester with at least one week's notice. Instruction is most meaningful when it is timed with a project requiring the use of the library.
  • Course-integrated instruction is a collaboration between teaching faculty and library faculty. Both can work together to coordinate library visits and assignments before the semester begins.
  • Online tutorials are available to both on- and off-campus students. Students are encouraged to work through the Library Primer 2.0. A customizable certificate may be printed out to hand in to teachers to verify completion of the tutorial.
  • Faculty outreach is a program designed specifically to help faculty keep up-to-date with resources and services at the Library. Group or individual appointments are available.
  • School groups. James White Library is happy to host school groups of elementary or high school students. One adult for every 15 students should accompany the group. We also recommend that the school librarian accompany the students.

Scheduling Instruction

To request tours, classroom instruction, or faculty outreach, contact the Instruction Librarian, Silas Marques by email (, phone 269-471-6263 or use the Online Request Form. Submit requests not less than one week in advance. Include course name and number and the number of students who will be attending. It is also helpful to provide the librarian with a copy of the assignment the students will be working on.

Updated December 2, 2019