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Information literacy is not just the ability to locate an article for a class. It encompasses a variety of information-seeking behavior including recognizing when information is needed, phrasing questions to locate what is needed, evaluating the information, and using what is found ethically and effectively. It is common to all disciplines, learning environments, and levels of education.Information Literacy skills provide students with the tools to think critically about the information they encounter on a daily basis, and it prepares them to be lifelong learners.

Vision Statement

The UAB Libraries Information Literacy and Instruction Program will be the foremost source for library research instruction and lifelong learning empowerment in information, visual, and other literacies for a dynamic and continually-evolving information landscape.

Mission Statement

UAB Libraries supports the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s teaching mission by providing information literacy instruction to a diverse community of learners through programmatically integrated, scaffolded, and engaging learning experiences in order to promote research skills and multiple literacies, and to allow learners the opportunities to become effective information consumers, scholars, researchers, leaders, and creators of the future.

Expanded Information Literacy Mission Statement

Diverse community of learners
UAB is a diverse campus in demographics and disciplines, and it is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse campuses nationally in the Princeton review. Learners range from first-generation freshmen to practicing physicians. We value these diverse backgrounds and design learning opportunities that are inclusive of students with a broad range of abilities, education, cultures, and experiences.

Programmatically integrated, scaffolded, engaging learning experiences
The UAB Libraries Information Literacy Program delivers dynamic instruction in multiple ways: through active learning experiences in library instruction sessions for classes, through assignments created in conjunction with faculty, in individual consultations, and from guides and tutorials on the Libraries websites.  Learning outcomes are scaffolded so that users receive the basics of information literacy in their earlier classes and move to advanced knowledge practices in their upper-level instruction.

Promote research skills and multiple literacies (metaliteracy)
We do not solely teach information literacy because information literacy is part of a broader set of literacies. Information, visual, media, and digital literacy concepts are all addressed in the library’s instruction program. What is taught in a session depends on the classes’ outcomes, but often more than one literacy is needed. Visit metaliteracy.org for more information about this topic.

Information consumers, scholars, researchers, leaders, and creators of the future
We promote the exploration of knowledge rather than the requirements for one assignment. Our end result is to create users who think critically about the information they encounter and create during and after their time at UAB. We think of information literacy and critical thinking as a life-long, transferable skill that will ensure the success of learners in the 21st century as they interact with the conversations and debates of their disciplines.

Goals and Objectives

Information literacy is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (ACRL ). The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education is a list of core concepts, or “conceptual understandings that organize many other concepts and ideas about information, research, and scholarship into a coherent whole” (ACRL).

All of The UAB Libraries Information Literacy Program goals are based on this document. The entire document is on the Association of College and Research Libraries’ website.

The UAB Libraries Information Literacy Goals:

  • Increase campus-wide collaboration with the Information Literacy Program.
  • Collaborate with faculty to prepare students for lifelong learning by providing opportunities for instruction.
  • Work with library faculty to improve their information literacy teaching skills through library workshops, continuing education, and The UAB Libraries Peer Review for Learning Program.
  • Engage in a cycle of assessment for continuous program improvement.
  • Develop and enhance resources that support and teach information literacy skills, including online tutorials and guides.
  • Integrate information literacy into the university curricula through scaffolding of information literacy across courses and development and promotion of asynchronous online instruction materials.
  • Continue librarian membership on committees related to instruction and curricula such as the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Graduate Curriculum Committee, the eLearning Advisory Council, and the Center for Teaching and Learning Academic Advisory Council. 

Student Learning Outcomes (based on the Framework):

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and resources should be evaluated based on the information needed and its context.

Learners will be able to:

  • Define different types of authority (subject expertise, societal position, special experience, etc.).
  • Use research tools to determine credibility.
  • Recognize authorities and scholars in their field.
  • Acknowledge that they must seek accuracy and reliability while contributing to a field.
  • Understand the social nature of information.

Information Creation as a Process
Information conveys a message, information is shared, and information creation is a repetitious process (creating, revising, and sharing [in whatever format is appropriate]).

Learners will be able to:

  • Recognize that different types of information have plusses and minuses (including value).
  • Understand the differences between traditional and emerging information creation.
  • Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on its format.
  • Recognize the difference between static and mutable resources.
  • Develop their own processes for creating information.

Information Has Value
Information can be a commodity, a means of education, a means of influence, and a means of negotiating and understanding the world.

Learners will be able to:

  • Give credit through citation.
  • Understand the value and purpose of intellectual property rights including copyright, fair use, open access, and public domain.
  • Recognize that some groups have a lack of access to tools or information sources.
  • Decide how and where their information should be published.
  • Understand how the commodification of their personal information and online interactions affects the information they receive and produce or disseminate online.

Research as Inquiry
Research is iterative and involves asking increasingly complex or new questions that raise additional questions.

Learners will be able to:

  • Use research questions.
  • Break complex questions into simpler ones.
  • Monitor research and fill in gaps.
  • Draw conclusions based on research.

Scholarship as a Conversation
Research is recursive and discursive, and new discoveries and insights happen over time.

Learners will be able to:

  • Cite
  • Contribute to the scholarly conversation
  • Evaluate others’ contributions made in participatory information environments
  • Summarize the changes in scholarly perspective over time on a particular topic within a discipline
  • Recognize that a work may not represent the only or even the majority perspective on an issue

Searching as a Strategic Exploration
Searching can be nonlinear, repetitive, and complex, and the searcher can impact the search.

Learners will be able to:

  • Determine how long the research will take.
  • Determine “interested parties” that might contribute to the research.
  • Use different ways of thinking while searching.
  • Use the right tools for the search and use those tools correctly.
  • Seek guidance from experts, such as librarians, researchers, and professionals.

Instructional Support

As part of the Information Literacy and Instruction program, UAB Libraries provides numerous instructional opportunities and workshops for UAB faculty and students, as well as for area schools. Visit the Instruction & Workshops page for more information about these services.

Assessment & Statistics

The UAB Libraries Information Literacy Program values assessment. Assessment and statistics document the Program’s contribution to institutional goals.

We are always identifying new ways to assess student learning by attending workshops, viewing webinars, and staying abreast of current assessment literature. We are looking for continuous improvement in our teaching practices and programs. We use the assessments to shape improvements to our information literacy program.

What We Assess

  • Student learning of library and information skills.
  • Faculty satisfaction with our teaching program and library services.
  • Librarian teaching skills.

How We Assess

  • In-class assessments of skills students have acquired.
  • Surveys of in-class instruction.
  • Self-evaluation of teaching and presentation skills.
  • The UAB Libraries Peer Review for Learning Program.

In the 2018 calendar year, the UAB Libraries faculty have instructed over 9,500 students in more than 600 sessions.

Some of the disciplines taught were English, biotechnology, occupational therapy, pediatric psychiatry, education and honors. A variety of topics were covered in classes and workshops such as career development, medical and nursing literature reviews, citation styles and reference management tools, and data visualization. The formats of classes, workshops, and consultations were all face-to-face and online. Levels taught ranged from high school students to physicians at UAB Hospital.

Mervyn H. Sterne Library

917 13th St S
Birmingham, AL

(205) 934-6364

Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences

1700 University Blvd
Birmingham, AL

(205) 975-4821

Reynolds-Finley Historical Library

1700 University Blvd - 3rd Floor
Birmingham, AL

(205) 934-4475

Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences

1700 University Blvd - 3rd Floor
Birmingham, AL

(205) 934-4475

Lister Hill Library at University Hospital

615 18th Street S - P235 West Pavilion
Birmingham, AL

(205) 934-2275

801 Building

801 5th Ave South
Room 1111
Birmingham, AL

(205) 934-5432

J. Ellis Sparks Medical Library

301 Governors Drive SE - 3rd Floor
Huntsville, AL 35801

(256) 551-4405

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