- Information Literacy Assessment
Gone are the days when the value of libraries as public institutions can be taken as a given. All libraries—public, academic, and school—are in competition for funds from shrinking government and institutional budgets. In a Google-ized world, libraries and librarians need to make the case to their constituencies about how exactly they serve the greater good and the educational mission of their school, college, or university. Librarians are involved in marketing themselves and their institutional services, drawing up strategic plans, and collaborating with faculty and policy makers. Information literacy initiatives are at the core of many library projects and collaborations and represent the key element in long-range planning and mission statements. All good projects and plans incorporate assessment. How else can planners determine when they have met their objectives? Assessment is often the most difficult part of the process, however, especially for educational endeavors, in which benchmarks can be hard to describe and define.
Enter Teresa Y. Neely (University of New Mexico) and her collaborators with their offering, Information Literacy Assessment. This book gives practical advice with a how-to approach on a hot topic for librarians and library administrators. Although the target audience is academic librarians, educators and secondary school librarians are sure to find this book of interest as well. There are other recent and useful works on the topic of information literacy, but what makes Neely's book a standout is her approach to the topic as reflected in the subtitle, "Standard-Based Tools and Assignments." The heart of the book, chapters 3 through 7, gives suggested assignments and assessment activities based on Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000) tied to specific performance indicators and outcomes. In each of these chapters, there is a consistent high level of pedagogy reflected in these reality-based assignments that high school students and undergraduates are sure to find thought-provoking and engaging.
The introductory chapters provide an intelligent overview of the topic of information literacy and could be useful for librarians engaged in planning and marketing new collaborative project or initiatives. The final chapters discuss issues relating to using and developing assessment tools. The appendix, "Information Literacy Survey Instruments," is itself worth the price of the book. Neely has assembled a bibliography of over 70 survey instruments including Web addresses, instrument authors, and contact information.
In the introduction, Neely writes that she hopes that this book will serve as a "guide to building a culture of information literacy assessment from the grassroots level up through library and university [End Page 126] administration." (p. 3) This book definitely succeeds in this goal and is highly recommended as a resource for any educator interested in information literacy.