Uncovering the IL Disconnect: Examining Expectations among Librarians, Faculty and Students

Since the emergence of bibliographic instruction, and later, information literacy (IL) instruction, librarians have generously proffered anecdotal evidence of students’ gaps in information and library research skills; their perceptions emanate from interactions with students at reference desks and within classroom settings. Moreover, the librarian liaison model is pervasive in many higher educational institutions, thus permitting librarians to work closely with discipline faculty to facilitate students’ acquisition of information- based skills. Although librarians work closely with both discipline faculty and students, are their anecdotes accurate with respect to the information literacy skills that should be acquired? Are their perceptions of students’ information literacy skills and needs aligned with those of the faculty or of the students? The results of a needs assessment of librarians, faculty, and students of the California State University (CSU) system illuminates the incongruity of librarian perceptions, revealing surprising results. This paper examines the needs assessment, survey findings, and offers suggestions on how practitioners can use the results to inform and improve collaboration with faculty and enhance their work with students.