Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 290 2017
researchers includes students’ development of information literacy,8
with close to 70% of library strategic plans listing information
literacy as a paramount focus.9 Also the Ithaka S+R US Faculty
Survey 2015 indicated “an increase in the share of faculty members
who believe that their undergraduate students have poor research
skills and a substantial increase in the perceived importance of
the role of the library in helping undergraduate students develop
research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills.”10
Libraries, in turn, have a long history of teaching and assessing
information literacy and of focusing on student learning. Efforts
like the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
Information Literacy Immersion Assessment Workshop, the
ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher
Education, and now the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy
for Higher Education11 attest to the connections between libraries
and student learning. As a result, the library community is much
more likely to create student learning outcomes and use a variety
of formative and summative student learning assessments.12
However, at a substantial number of institutions, the majority of
instruction programs are built on a “one-shot model and tend to
capture limited amounts of information, e.g., only one librarian’s
class, one group of students, or one assessment method.”13
Some libraries offer credit-bearing courses and have built deeper,
richer student learning assessments.14 However, librarians often
continue to find themselves in an awkward position in supporting
student learning of critical thinking, analytical thinking, written
communication skills, and reading comprehension. These higher-
order skills take time and practice to develop, and time and practice
are inherently not part of a one-shot session. Thus, there remains
a significant gap with regard to the libraries’ role in students’
development of other critical learning outcomes common across
colleges and universities. The absence of data related to these
outcomes is concerning given Oakleaf’s recommendation that
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