Information Literacy as a Student Learning Outcome

The Perspective of Institutional Accreditation

by Laura Saunders with Foreword by Peter Hernon


Information literacy—defined as the ability to locate, access, evaluate, and use information—is linked to critical thinking and lifelong learning, and as such is an essential learning outcome directly related to students' academic success. As accountability at all levels of education becomes more critical, so will the need for information literacy assessment and accreditation at the college level.

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Cover image for Information Literacy as a Student Learning Outcome

June 2011

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 294
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Information Literacy and Instruction, College Level and Above

This nationwide analysis documents how institutions of higher education are responding to demands for accountability and transparency by implementing and assessing learning goals for information literacy.

Stakeholders in higher education across the country—including students, parents, research and policy organizations, and government agencies—are demanding greater accountability and transparency from institutions in how they are promoting quality and improvement in colleges and universities. Indeed, as the cost of tuition rises, colleges and universities as well as the organizations which accredit them are coming under increased scrutiny. Logically, student learning outcomes, assessment, and accreditation are all constantly under the magnifying glass.

Information Literacy as a Student Learning Outcome: The Perspective of Institutional Accreditation fills a gap in the current literature by inspecting how institutions nationwide are fulfilling accreditation standards in the area of information literacy. While the bulk of the book looks at institutions accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, all six of the regional accreditation areas are addressed. The author also conducted campus visits and interviews at selected institutions in order to provide a more in-depth analysis of these institutions' programs for information literacy.


  • Figures and tables
  • End-of-chapter references and a final bibliography
  • A subject index


  • Provides stakeholders with critical insight into how institutions are holding themselves accountable in the area of information literacy
  • Includes case studies that offer an in-depth analysis of the major themes and forces impacting learning outcomes for information literacy
  • Presents the only nationwide study of information literacy as a student learning outcome
  • Contains information relevant to library directors, librarians, and higher education administrators
  • Examines guidelines from all six regional accrediting institutions
Author Info

Laura Saunders is assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, Boston, MA. Her published works include articles for The Journal of Academic Librarianship and College & Research Libraries, and her article "Regional Accreditation Organizations' Treatment of Information Literacy" was recognized as one of the 20 best articles of the year by ALA's Library Instruction Round Table.

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