Information Literacy

The information literacy program empowers students to create and share new ideas by teaching them how to find, evaluate, and responsibly use information.

Librarians and faculty at UD partner to teach students information literacy skills they need to succeed in assignments and their future careers as professionals and lifelong learners.  Once a network of informal partnerships, information literacy at UD has evolved into an intentional, programmatic model, including an explicit learning objective of the Core Curriculum as well as being incorporated throughout most majors.

What’s information literacy?
Information literacy is a set of skills and dispositions that includes finding, evaluating, interpreting, and using information, as well as student self-reflection. It empowers students to answer existing questions and develop new ones, and create new knowledge as part of a community of scholars. For more about information literacy, see the Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education revision draft, available from

What can librarians do for me & my students?
Librarians can teach in-class sessions based on your specific assignments so students learn how to effectively use both free- and fee-based (library subscription) materials and tools to find high-quality information for particular assignments. Librarians can help you plan effective research assignments for your students and are available for one-on-one and small group research support. Librarians also partner with faculty to ensure the library collection meets student and faculty needs. 

How do I request an information literacy session?
Discuss your assignments and your students’ needs with the librarian liaison for your department, listed at:

Can this happen outside of class time?
Ideally, information literacy instruction takes place during one or more of your regular class sessions. That way, students understand that the concepts librarians partner with you to teach are integral to their academic success. Library instruction is always based specifically on your assignment requirements and most faculty find that student work improves as a result of the partnership with librarians.

Can we schedule a session for a day I have to be gone from class?
Instructors should be active participants in each information literacy session. This supports the importance of the concepts and allows you to answer specific questions regarding assignment expectations.

Don’t students already know this?
UD library assessments, conducted with a pre- and post-test model for 8 years, consistently showed incoming students need a better understanding of the complex information environment they are required to navigate in order to complete college-level research assignments. Many students have little to no experience using research databases or finding a book on library shelves. While they may understand basic concepts such as a definition of plagiarism, higher-level skills such as identifying source bias require explicit instruction and applied practice in order to be effectively developed.

Selected Bibliography of UD Librarians’ Scholarship

  • Canovan, Becky, Stone, C., & Arensdorf, J. “Information Literacy: Beg, Borrow, & Steal.” Workshop at the Iowa
         Private Academic Libraries Annual Meeting, Des Moines, April 4-5, 2013.

  • Canovan, B., & Wolff, Katelyn. “Chaos, Madness and 1st-years Run Amuck: The Library Scavenger Hunt and 
         Why We’d Do It Again in a Heartbeat.” Presentation at the 2nd Annual Indiana University Libraries 
         Information Literacy Colloquium, New Albany, IN, Aug. 9, 2013.

  • Canovan, Becky. “Homegrown Ingredients: Creating Tools When the Information Literacy Supermarket Fails 
         You.” Presentation at the LOEX National Conference, Columbus, OH, May 3-5, 2012.

  • Canovan, Becky, and Cara Stone. “Bringing Reality TV to Library Instruction: Nontraditional Activities for 
         Teaching Traditional Library Concepts.” Indiana University's Information Literacy Colloquium. New Albany, 
         IN. Aug.4, 2012.

  • Canovan, Becky, & Cal Coquillette. “Opening the Door: How Library Instruction Can Improve Student Work.” 
         Presentation at the 2010 ILA/ACRL Spring Conference, Cedar Rapids, IA, April 23, 2010.

  • Canovan, Becky, Anne Marie Gruber, Mary Anne Knefel, & Michele McKinlay. “Many Voices, One Goal: 
         Measuring Student Success through Partnerships in the Core Curriculum.” In Collaborative Information 
         Literacy Assessments: Strategies for Evaluating Teaching and Learning
    , edited by T. P. Mackey & T. E. 
         Jacobson, 175-211. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2009. (Awarded Iowa-ACRL Research Award, 2010).

  • Gruber, Anne Marie, and Marta Abele. “From Cover to Cover: Library-Campus Collaboration to Support At-Risk 
         Students.” Presentation at the Iowa Private Academic Libraries Conference, Waverly, IA, April 20, 2012.

  • Gruber, Anne Marie, Mary Anne Knefel, & Paul Waelchli. “Modeling Scholarly Inquiry: One Article at a Time.” 
         College & Undergraduate Libraries 15, no. 1-2 (2008): 99-125.

  • Helmke, Jonathan, and Chaminda Prelis. “Collaborating from a Distance: Using Skype to Help Achieve 
         Student and Faculty Goals.” Presentation at the Iowa Private Academic Libraries Conference, Waverly, IA, 
         April 20, 2012.

  • Helmke, Jonathan, & Toohey, Meghann. “Rosetta Stone: In Any Language, Libraries Translate to Learning.” 
         Presentation at the ILA-ACRL Annual Conference, Pella, IA, March 18, 2011.

  • Knefel, Mary Anne, & Helmke, J. “Under Construction: Library Services for Distance Students.” Presentation 
         at the American Theological Library Association Annual Meeting, Charlotte, NC, June 18-22, 2013.

  • Knefel, Mary Anne, Melinda Thompson, & Jonathan Helmke. “Faculty/Librarian Collaboration in Creating a 
         Research Assignment for Distance Education Students.” Presentation at the Annual ATLA Conference,   
         Louisville, KY, June 16-19, 2010. Included in the ATLA Conference Proceedings 2010.  

  • Knefel, Mary Anne. “Distance Education Students and Interlibrary Loan.” Roundtable Discussion Facilitator at 
         the Midwest Interlibrary Loan Conference, Dubuque, IA, April 9, 2010.

  • Knefel, Mary Anne, Paul Waelchli, Anne Marie Gruber, & Jessica Schreyer. “Modeling Scholarly Inquiry: One 
         Article at a Time.” Presentation at the Iowa ACRL Spring Conference, Davenport, IA, March 3, 2008.

  •  “Modeling Scholarly Inquiry: One Article at a Time.” Presentation at the annual LOEX Conference, Oak Brook, 
         IL, May 1-3, 2008.

  • Supple, Jenn, Anne Marie Gruber, & Robert Stephen Reid. Connecting with Your Audience: Making Public 
         Speaking Matter.
     Dubuque: Kendall Hunt, 2010.  

  • Thompson, Melinda, Mary Anne Knefel, & Jonathan Helmke. “Library Access for Distance Students.” 
         Presentation at the ACCESS (Association of Christian Distance Education) Conference, Cincinnati, OH, 
         March 10-12, 2010.