Information literacy is recognized globally as essential for individual and community empowerment, workforce readiness, and global competitiveness. Recent international efforts related to information literacy have the goal of mainstreaming it in educational systems and in societies. However, there is a history of difficulty in integrating it with the educational process. This integration with the educational process may be referred to as institutionalization. Although the goal of colleges and universities is to graduate information literate critical thinkers, there is no established strategy for instilling this competency in students. This paper proposes that a lack of understanding of the organizational functioning of colleges and universities may contribute to the difficulty in institutionalizing information literacy. It explores possible reasons for the difficulty in institutionalizing information literacy. It will apply existing organizational theory to provide a new perspective. The paper describes Birnbaum’s four models of organizational functioning in colleges and universities: collegial, bureaucratic, political, and organized anarchy. This paper will propose strategies to integrate information literacy into organizations that have characteristics of the models that Birnbaum describes.


information literacy, organizations, organization theory

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