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Published October 15, 2019

Collaborative grant has the potential for broad impact in higher education

Understanding information literacy at community colleges

Understanding the instructional practices of information literacy (IL) in community college libraries, as well as the perceptions of librarians and students regarding the IL needs of students, is a nationwide concern. Currently, community colleges account for over 50 percent of the institutions of higher education and these colleges educate nearly half of the post-secondary students.

To address this concern, Heidi Julien, professor from the Department of Information Science and colleagues from Florida State University, are collaborating on a grant to investigate community college librarians’ and students’ perceptions of IL instruction and student IL needs and experiences.

The grant will focus on community college librarians and students in Florida (28 community colleges) and New York (40 community colleges). The design of the research includes a survey that will be developed for and administered to community college librarians, as well as interviews with 60 students.

Findings from this study with reveal the key IL needs of community college students as viewed from the point of view of both students and librarians. The study will also provide a snapshot of current instructional practices, and the challenges community librarians face in serving their academic communities.

“This project has the potential to impact a large proportion of the students in higher education in the United States,” says Julien. “There is broad potential for multiple outcomes, including influencing community college accreditation and missions, pedagogical practices of community college librarians, education of pre-service librarians, and future research on best practices in information literacy instruction in the college environment.”

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