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Information Literacy


UMass Amherst's mission is to provide teaching, research, and public service to benefit the people in Massachusetts, the nation, and the world.  The UMass Amherst Libraries Information Literacy Program partners with faculty to develop information literacy across the campus community. 

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is more than an academic skill.  It is a life skill that individuals need in personal and professional contexts. The information literate person is able to:

  • Determine the nature and extent of information needed
  • Find needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand many of the economic, legal and social issues of the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally


The overarching goal of the Information Literacy Program is each individual's academic success.  The Program serves as a springboard to the myriad resources available through the UMass Amherst Libraries; cultivates initiative and integrity in information seeking; and supports lifelong learning as a collaborative endeavor between faculty, students and Library staff. The Program is based on the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education approved in 2000. It also addresses the requirements of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Standards for Accreditation, specifically Standards Four (The Academic Program) and Seven (Library and Other Information Resources). 

  1. Students will attain the information literacy competencies outlined by the ACRL standards.
  2. Librarians will work with faculty and instructors to identify where information literacy skills are needed and integrate those skills into course content and assignments as well as support faculty with their own research needs.


 The Libraries will achieve the program goals by:

  1. Promoting the concept of information literacy and the Libraries' role in its provision
  2. Creating new and fostering existing relationships with faculty and to work collaboratively with them on information literacy planning
  3. Further enhancing the tiered instructional program that develops information literacy skills incrementally from general education courses to graduation, with emphasis on unique department- or discipline-based needs
  4. Creating web-based information literacy tutorials capable of general and specific use, accessible through the University's course management system or Libraries web site
  5. Continually assessing the Information Literacy Program's effectiveness, instituting improvements where needed

 Endorsed by the Libraries Senior Management Group, September 30, 2009