This paper was originally written for LIS 536: Digital Reference and Information Retrieval.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), for an individual to be information literate, he or she must be able to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (American Library Association 1989 par3). In her study, “The Information Search Process of High, Middle, and Low Achieving High School Seniors,” Carol Kuhlthau (1989) indicates that students entering their first year of university are lacking information literacy skills and are generally unable to effectively make use of the resources available to them in academic libraries. The above definition of information literacy was outlined in 1989, the same year as Kuhlthau’s study, and yet it has been indicated that information-seeking skills obtained in high schools are still leaving students unprepared for the challenges of university scholarship (Badke 2009). While there is evidence that high school students’ information needs extend beyond the academic to general information, information about future plans, relationships, lifestyles and health (Latrobe and Havener 1997), much of the available literature that has been written about the information needs of this group focuses on school-related searches (e.g. Fidel et al. 1999; Barranoik 2001; Julien and Barker 2009).