According to the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, “information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and to have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Further, “information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education.”

The instruction program at the MSU Library exists to promote information literacy among students, faculty, and staff and is designed to develop the ability to independently identify, select, analyze and evaluate information for any purpose.

The instruction program is fluid, evolving to meet patrons' needs as technology modifies the way information is accessed, as curricular and administrative needs change, and as a result of program evaluation. Through the instruction program, the library facilitates access to the vast resources available to the university, fosters a sense of independence and responsibility, and encourages a collaborative relationship between librarians and other teaching faculty. The program teaches library users needed information research methods and skills through point-of-use, course-related, web-based, and credit course instruction, thus supporting the overall educational mission of Montana State University.