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Grant funds library efforts to expand “information literacy”

August 27, 2001

Austin Peay's Woodward Library is one of 23 university libraries across the nation to receive a grant to teach information literacy, the ability to evaluate information in technological formats.

“Students need to learn how to find and use information, whether it's from the Internet or electronic databases, and they need assistance to learn that,” says Deborah Fetch, interim dean of Woodward Library.

The Association of College and Research Libraries project is funded through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services national Leadership Grant. The grant assists libraries in bringing information literacy skills into the classroom.

Information literacy assures that students not only know how to access information but that they know how to evaluate it. “Anyone can put anything they want on the Internet,” says Fetch, “but that doesn't mean it's accurate information and it doesn't mean that information should be used for scholarly research.”

Evaluation is a third component of the program. “We want to determine if how we're teaching it is valid,” Fetch says. “We have been working information literacy into some programs and working with faculty to integrate this approach into regular coursework. This project will help us access the effectiveness of that effort.”

Although the process is just beginning, Fetch hopes to expand it by adding a multimedia development suite in the library, so faculty have a place to prepare Powerpoint presentations, work with smart classroom technology and digitize information.

For more information about the program, telephone Fetch at 7617.