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Service Learning: Home

Welcome! This guide is intended to help instructors teaching service learning courses with resources, research and information literacy needs.

Information Literacy

The central mission of library instruction is to create information literate students. Information literate students know how to find, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically. According to the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education "Gaining skills in information literacy multiplies the opportunities for students' self-directed learning, as they become engaged in using a wide variety of information sources to expand their knowledge, ask informed questions, and sharpen their critical thinking..." (5). Thus, information literacy provides a foundation for life-long learning, the ultimate goal of education, and is common to all disciplines, learning environments, and levels of education. In the recent report College Learning for the New Global Century, information literacy is discussed as an essential learning outcome students need to prepare for twenty-first century challenges. As information professionals, librarians are uniquely positioned to guide the process of integrating information literacy within the university curriculum and to ensure that students are prepared for the challenges of a highly competitive, information-rich society.

Library Information Literacy Standards

The ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education provide a set of information literacy standards, performance indicators, and outcomes that serve as the basis for assisting learners to master content and extend their investigations, to become more self-directed, and to assume greater control over their own learning.

ACRL Standards for Information Literacy include:

  • Standard One: The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
  • Standard Two: The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • Standard Three: The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • Standard Four: The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Standard Five: The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Definition: What is Service Learning?

UM defines Service Learning as

"A method of teaching and learning in which students, faculty, and community partners work together to enhance student learning by applying academic knowledge in a community-based setting.  Student work addresses the needs of the community as identified through collaboration with community or tribal partners, while meeting instructional objectives through faculty-structured service work and critical reflection meant to prepare students to be civically responsible members of the community.  At its best, service learning enhances and deepens students' understanding of an academic discipline by facilitating the integration of theory and practice, while providing them with experience that develops life skills and engages them in critical reflection about individual, institutional, and social ethics."

From the Office for Civic Engagement

Library Instruction and Research Support

There are many ways the librarians are here to support the work of your service learning course. We are happy to discuss them all! Please contact Megan Stark, Undergraduate Services Librarian, to begin the conversation!

  • Visiting a course to provide research-based instruction
  • Designing library guides focused on the content of your course
  • Speaking to your course about the unique information ecosystem surrounding your service learning environment
  • Collaborating with you to create research-based assignments
  • Instructing your students about the process of literature reviews