Awareness and perceptions of information literacy of faculty members in universities in the Dublin area

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Blau, Christina
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MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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In recent years librarians in Ireland have begun to embrace the concept of Information Literacy (IL) and its importance with many case studies, reports and conferences dedicated to the subject. Despite this, few studies have examined IL in Irish higher education. This research therefore aims to explore the awareness and perceptions of Information Literacy held by faculty members in universities in the Dublin area. This was done through an online questionnaire which was disseminated via email. The research produced a number of key findings: 40% of faculty members in these universities were unaware of the term but nearly all consider the skill very important; faculty members in these universities believe IL to be taught through informal methods and do not often collaborate with librarians in teaching IL; while preferring library orientation classes many respondents would be open to librarian involvement and believe IL should be taught by a collaboration of lecturers and librarians; while time restrictions are identified as the most influential problem in attaining collaboration even these are surmountable; 24% of respondents believe they could become more information literate and many would be willing to attend IL classes. The main conclusion drawn is that despite the literature indicating that integration and collaboration is necessary if IL is to be successfully included in higher education, limited integration has occurred in these universities and more promotion is required. The research therefore suggests: expanding the sources in which IL articles are published; increasing the number of faculty members approached by librarians; campaigning for a national standard and including IL in professional development courses. It is also suggested that any approach taken to promoting IL to faculty members in universities in the Dublin area must take their perceptions, commitments and desires into account if it is to be successful. Author keywords: Information literacy, faculty members, higher education