Do faculty and librarians see information literacy in the same way? A study of alignment

Bin, Melody (CHEN Bin) CHIN, Singapore Management University


Faculty and Librarians are two distinctprofessional groups each with their own subcultures,values and experiences. Hardesty (1995)noted the existence of a "faculty culture" amongstfaculty members, which quite likely shapes andinfluences the way these individuals perceive ahighly subjective concept such as InformationLiteracy (IL). Faculty and Librarians in highereducation institutions often work together in thedevelopment of IL Programs. However, despite thiscollaborative relationship, it is not clear as towhether the two professional groups perceive theconcept of IL similarly, or whether there exists adivide. Understanding how both professionsperceive IL should be a priority, with findings fromIvey’s (2003) study revealing that a sharedunderstanding forms one of the key elements forsuccessful collaboration in relation to IL initiatives.This research project endeavours to shed light onthis area by employing survey methodology toinvestigate how Faculty and Librarians at twohigher education institutions in Australia andSingapore perceive the concept of IL in relation toACRL's Framework for Information Literacy forHigher Education (ACRL, 2015), including acomparative analysis. 63 Faculty and 22 Librariansfrom Bond University and Singapore ManagementUniversity were asked a combination of open-endedand attitude-scale type questions on theframework’s definition of IL; the six thresholdconcepts; and on their views on the value andimpact of IL programs at their respectiveinstitutions. Analysis of narrative responses andscale ratings reveal that although bothprofessional groups share an overall positive viewon the six threshold concepts and on the value ofIL programs, it appears that there existsmisalignment between Faculty and Librarian viewsin a number of aspects such as the definition of IL,the impact of programs, as well as how the twoprofessional groups see the concept of IL itself.Differing views were particularly apparent in theimpact of IL programs, such that Faculty did notperceive programs to have as much impact asLibrarians had observed. By having anunderstanding of how the views of Faculty andLibrarians differ with regards to IL, it is anticipatedthat the findings from this research project willbetter inform future IL initiatives, as well as give usgreater potential to further enhance collaborativerelationships between Faculty and ourselves asinformation professionals.