An important role of library and information professionals is in assisting others to find the information they need. As such, these professionals are themselves expected to have the necessary competencies to identify, access and communicate the required information, i.e. to be information literate. The foundations for these competencies are laid during their library and information science (LIS) education programs. This study investigated the role and contributions of LIS programs in Iran to the development of information literacy (IL) competencies among LIS students. It also examined the challenges in the development of these competencies and approaches to overcome the challenges. Taking an exploratory approach, the study used semi-structured interviews to gather the data. Using the 2000 ACRL standards as a framework, the fieldwork questions were designed around the five areas of IL competencies, viz. determining information needs, locating information, evaluating information, using information ethically, and using information for a specific purpose. A total of 15 academics teaching 18 different LIS courses from six universities were interviewed. They were asked to reflect on the IL competencies in the context of their teaching experience and dealing with students’ projects, and to identify how their course(s) contributed to the development of these competencies. A thematic approach was used to analyze the data. The findings suggest that the existing LIS curriculum does contribute sufficiently to the development of “determining information needs” competency explicitly. Through the module outline, students just learn how to develop a research statement in the “Methodology in Library and Information Science” course. Although the educators took some effective approaches, such as getting students to find and select a topic, scoping and breaking it down, making presentations, using journal clubs and having interactions, further considerations are needed to equip students with this competency. The main challenges facing educators were a lack of clear understanding of LIS as a discipline, the gap between the way students learn in schools and the expectations in a university, shortcomings in teaching styles, and the fixed nature of the LIS education system.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston