Hendra Pretorius and Erika Rood presented during the recent International Conference on Information Literacy.

Information literacy could be just the tool that students need. This point was made strongly and convincingly at the recent International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL), hosted by the NWU.

Honing their skills

When students are information literate, they become skilled in the art of asking questions and seeking answers, finding information, forming opinions, evaluating sources and making decisions. This is according to Hendra Pretorius and Erika Rood, respectively of the campus library in Vanderbijlpark and the Ferdinand Postma Library in Potchefstroom.

“By embracing information literacy and harnessing the power thereof, we as information professionals help to shape successful students, effective information contributors, confident individuals and responsive citizens,” says Hendra, who is also the director for client services at Library and Information Services.

Making sense of the world

She said it had become crucial for societies to master certain capabilities – other than the ability to read and write – in order to make sense of the world.

Information literacy programmes are invaluable because they teach students to organise and use the information they find. “These students are adequately prepared for lifelong learning because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand,” she says.

Knowledge at their fingertips

Erika, the library’s information services manager, who co-presented with Hendra, says information literacy allows students to incorporate information into their knowledge base, regardless of their field of study.

This in turn enables them to creatively express and effectively communicate new knowledge, to use information ethically and to contribute knowledge for the betterment of society.

The NWU facilitates this by harnessing the power of the collaborative relationships between faculty librarians and the different academic entities. “By bringing lecturers, researchers and librarians together, the NWU is actively improving student learning through course-integrated information literacy instruction.”


For students to emerge from university with skills for the future, what they need most is not more information but the ability to think critically, solve problems and be lifelong learners.



is a lifeline in today’s tsunami of information

Did you know?


  • Traditionally, literacy means the ability to read and write. However, there are various types of literacy. These are audiovisual, print, computer, media, web, technical, and library and information literacy, among others.
  • Information literacy is the set of skills required to identify, retrieve, organise, and analyse information. It is therefore an essential skill that all students must acquire to effectively conduct research.
  • According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the empowerment of people through information literacy is an important requirement for fostering equitable access to information and knowledge.