Information Competency - the Invisible Basic Skills

Librarian, American River College

Information competency is a topic that has been discussed by the Academic Senate, especially through breakouts facilitated by the Senate's Curriculum Committee and the Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee. This is not just a library issue, but is of importance to all faculty. And it is becoming even more relevant as many groups, including the Senate, the System Office, CIOs, CSSOs and CEOs, discuss and implement the Basic Skills Initiative. Many in leadership are recognizing information competency as a basic skill and we will be looking at different ways to incorporate it into the basic skills discussions.

This breakout touched on a variety of issues, from a discussion of the components of information competency to a history of its progress as a statewide graduation requirement for the associate degree to implementing it in a variety of courses.

There are a number of colleges that already have information competency as a graduation requirement and it was mentioned at the breakout that one college has information competency as one of the institutional goals/student learning outcomes (this helps with accreditation as information competency is mentioned in the new standards).

What I felt was a good discussion topic for the breakout was how to incorporate information competency skills into all courses, not just basic skills courses. We had a very useful and informative dialogue about online tutorials, alternative assignments (hey, I am taking back some of these to my library colleagues) and use of other resources for reaching students. We panelists mentioned some handouts and websites that we would let you know about. Our goal is to have those listed on the Counseling and Library Faculty Issues page of the Senate's website at

I want to give special thanks to Cheryl Stewart (librarian at Coastline College) and Joe Friedman (librarian at Santa Rosa Junior College) for stepping in at the last minute and joining Paul Starer (chair of the Basic Skills Committee) and me in this presentation. Their knowledge and expertise was invaluable.