Five pillarsLibrary Instruction

In support of our diverse campus community and in collaboration with faculty, the Colgate University Libraries’ Research and Instruction team engages in inclusive, collaborative, critical, and creative pedagogies to foster information literacy and inspire intellectual curiosity. 

Our information literacy pedagogy is comprised of interconnected core concepts:

Questioning and Contextualizing Authority 

We understand authority to derive from content knowledge, expertise, experience, and reputation in different domains. Notions of authority are contextual in regard to particular content knowledge, expertise, and reputation as constituted in different domains. 

Understanding the Value of Information

We underscore the importance of the economic, legal, linguistic, and social forces that create both access and barriers to information. Information is a commodity. Critically engaging with the question of who has access to information and who does not forms an important facet of information literacy.

Encouraging Critical Inquiry

We present the sum total of the Libraries’ collection not as a silent record of research but a cacophony of conversations awaiting new ideas, perspectives, and critical analysis. Information literacy is a process of inquiry that generates challenging questions and sparks debate and dialogue around an array of answers to those questions. Expressions of intellectual debt through citation and acknowledgement are a practical manifestation of entering into those conversations.

Empowering Diverse Learners through Inclusive Pedagogies

We seek to understand how lived experience and structural oppression inform an individual’s information seeking. Everyone in our campus community is both a consumer and producer of information, and our individual research skills all exist on a continuum from novice to expert, based on experience and expertise. As a corollary, our pedagogy is learner-centered and builds upon a student’s strengths rather than perceived weaknesses related to research practices.

Supporting a Spectrum of  Literacies

Our pedagogical approach encompasses visual literacy, object-based inquiry, digital literacy, and data literacy. Information literacy empowers learners to become critically adept in an environment where formats of information evolve rapidly. Over the course of four years at Colgate University, a student may need to find, interpret, and analyze information in the form of a visualization, object, data, or sound. We see information literacy as encompassing a multitude of literacies. 

Our mission is heavily informed by the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, a cluster of interconnected core concepts, with flexible options for implementation, rather than on a set of standards or learning outcomes, or any prescriptive enumeration of skills.