More from the ACRL Board on the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The ACRL Board of Directors met on Saturday, January 31, 2015, to discuss the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This agenda item was coupled with an open microphone session. We were very pleased that about 60 guests were present for this conversation, 12 of whom opted to speak with the Board during open mic. Comments continued to be thoughtful, thought provoking, impassioned and very helpful.  Many thanks colleagues, for your full participation through a variety of options for giving input.

The Board met again on Monday, February 2, 2015, to take action. Following careful consideration of the comments and perspectives contributed by librarians over many months, the Board engaged in thoughtful discussion about the role of the Framework and the existing Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, the expectations of the membership, and how best to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of stakeholders while at the same time moving the profession forward in its thinking about information literacy.

The Board voted to recognize the excellent work of the Task Force in producing a document that will forge new directions in information literacy research and practice, and, in accordance with parliamentary procedure, we took the official action of ‘filing’ the Framework document in order to foster its intended flexibility and potential. This positive action allows the Framework to move forward as a dynamic, living document that can be changed in the future without needing a vote and full Board approval. In plain English, this means that we have accepted the Framework and it will assume its place among the constellation of documents used by information literacy practitioners.

Many members expressed excitement about the Framework and intend to begin working with it immediately. Others see its value, but believe it pairs well with a set of standards.  We’ve heard so many perspectives on the value or lack of value of standards, that we feel conversation around sunsetting the Standards is best deferred until we’ve had more opportunity to see how the Framework builds. In the interest of sustainable change, we believe that this path will allow for greatest success.

The Board believes the ACRL membership needs time and support for learning more about the Framework and how to use it. To that end, Sharon Mader, the newly appointed ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy, will work for the next two years with member leaders to develop resources to help members use the framework, such as building a “sandbox” for examples and experimentation by the community. Sharon, who has long been involved as a valued member leader in ACRL’s information literacy and standards work, will also work with member stakeholders to create a professional development program to assist librarians in understanding how they can use the Framework and contribute to its growth.

The Board expresses its deep appreciation for the hard work and deep consultation that the Task Force undertook to engage the community in this stimulating scholarly discussion and to introduce this new way of thinking and practicing to the academic library community. You can look forward to learning more about ACRL’s work in this area and opportunities to engage in the weeks and months ahead.

– Karen Williams, ACRL President