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Information Literacy: First Year Guidelines

What is Information Literacy?

According to the Association of College and Research Libraries:

"Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning" (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, 2016).

Why is Information Literacy Important in Higher Education?

Participation in the modern world requires all of us to be information literate. In the academic setting, we recognize the importance of educating our students to be information literate, equipping them for both academic success and life-long learning. This is underscored by the emphasis placed on information literacy by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the University’s accrediting body, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), of which the University of Maine is a member. 

The University is using the VALUE rubrics from the AAC&U’s LEAP project as tools for campus-wide assessment and the VALUE approach includes a rubric for assessment of information literacy

Why is Information Literacy Important to First Year Success?

Academic literature demonstrates that a grounding in information literacy is correlated with student success (Bowles-Terry, 2012; Shao & Purpur, 2016). Literature also indicates that a high percentage of incoming first year students do not have these skills (Correll, 2019; Head, 2013; Hinchliffe, Rand, & Collins, 2018).

What is Fogler's Role?

Locating, accessing, evaluating, and using information resources is at the heart of academic librarianship. As subject librarians, we possess specialized knowledge in the information needs of particular disciplines, and have a crucial role in information literacy education.  Subject librarians provide instruction and individual or group consultation services to students, faculty, and staff.

The Reference and Information Literacy department uses ACRL guidelines in our work as subject librarians and educators. Our main professional association, the Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL), first created standards for teaching information literacy in 2001.  These standards were updated by the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in 2016.

We want to work with you to help incorporate this learning into your courses.  Please contact your Subject Librarian to set up a consultation.


First Year Student Information Literacy Guidelines

The subject librarians of Fogler's Reference & Information Literacy department have developed information literacy guidelines for First Year students.  We want to work with academic departments, faculty, and instructors to help all first year students achieve these goals, both to improve student's success in their university career and to develop lifelong skills.


The Guidelines

Apply critical thinking

  • Identify information needs and resources
  • Evaluate credentials of those who create information; understand why and for whom they are creating that information
  • Evaluate fit of information sources for a particular use
  • Understand how information sources may connect and build on one another

Understand and locate types of information

  • Understand and recognize characteristics of a variety of source types, including scholarly and popular sources
  • Understand how to access specific types of information sources
  • Understand publishing and review processes

Understand search strategies

  • Apply a variety of tools and methods to find information
  • Understand the advantages and constraints of search tools
  • Recognize research is a process

Understand that information has value

  • Understand principles of academic integrity
  • Recognize issues of information access and privilege
  • Understand citation and its importance

Mapping Our Guidelines

We have mapped our guidelines both to the AAC&U Information Literacy VALUE Rubric and to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.  

Research on Information Literacy

Bowles-Terry, M. (2012). Library instruction and academic success: A mixed - methods assessment of a library instruction program. Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice, 7(1), 82-95.

Correll, M. (2019). What do high school students know about information literacy? A case study of one university's feeder schools. Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice, 7(1), 25-27. https://doi-org/10.5195/palrap.2019.202 

Head, A. (2013). Learning the ropes: How freshmen conduct course research once they enter college. Project Information Literacy.

Hinchliffe, L. J., Rand, A., & Collier, J. (2018). Predictable information literacy misconceptions of first-year college students. Communications in Information Literacy, 12(1), 4-18.

Shao, X., & Purpur, G. (2016). Effects of information literacy skills on student writing and course performance. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 670-678.

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