Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Institutional engagement in USA

Thanks to the ACRL blog I came across information about the (US) National Center for Educational Statistic’s report Academic Libraries 2006 which has a table of the percentage of "academic institutions reporting information literacy activities". The indicators of information literacy activity are (with results in brackets, rounded to whole number):
1. defined information literacy or information literate student (48%)
2. incorporated information literacy into institution’s mission (34%)
3. incorporated information literacy into institution’s strategic plan (30%)
4. has institution-wide committee to implement strategic plan for information literacy (18%)
5. strategic plan formally recognizes the library’s role in information literacy instruction (25%)

3,105 institutions responded to this question (86%). The report is at
It is difficult to make exact comparisons, as the type of strategic document that institutions in different countries have to prepare varies, and this study covers libraries in all postsecondary institutions (as you might guess from the large number of them!). However, the results for the 597 US institutions that have PhD as the highest award made (ie probably a reasonable equivalent to UK universities?) were very similar to the global percentages quoted above. Corrall's (2007) study examined documents accessible on UK university websites in 2006 for evidence of strategic engagement with information literacy: it looks from that as though figures for the UK are lower, though as I said, this is not comparing like with like exactly.
I find it interesting that statistics about this are gathered sytsematically in the US at all: it would be a good idea if the same were done in the UK.
Reference: Corrall, S.M. (2007). "Benchmarking strategic engagement with information literacy in higher education: towards a working model" Information Research, 12(4) paper 328.

Photo by Sheila Webber: Quebec central station, August 2008

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