Illinois State University Media Relations

Oct. 16, 2012

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Panel discussion on information literacy

If a child needs to know how to clean birds covered in oil from an environmental disaster for a biology paper, or you’re shopping for a tablet and want to compare features, you probably go to the same place – the Internet. But how do you know whether the information you find is credible?

That’s what information literacy is all about and Gov. Pat Quinn proclaimed October as Information Literacy Month. Dane Ward, interim dean of the University Libraries at Illinois State, is on the board of directors of the National Forum on Information Literacy and worked on the statewide effort to bring focus to the topic. Illinois is one of 10 states to issue the proclamation. 

“How do we find good information and how do we evaluate it?” Ward asked. “How do we make sense of it? Students struggle with this quite a bit. A student writing a research paper needs to be able to figure out if the information is credible. As tech-savvy as students are, they struggle with how to evaluate the information they find.”

And so do others. One of the most popular searches on the Internet is for health information. “People with symptoms are blogging and it becomes the blind leading the blind,” he said.

The Urgency of Information Skills, a panel discussion, will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center. Faculty will discuss the need to develop the lifelong skill of information literacy. Panelists are: Alauna Akins, School of Communications; Susan Kossman, College of Nursing; Kathy Mountjoy, Business Teacher Education; Patrick O’Rourke, Department of Agriculture; and Joyce Walker, Department of English, Rhetoric and Composition. Ward will moderate. The event is free and a reception will follow.

For more information, contact Dane Ward at or 438-7215.

Illinois State University

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