Author Archives: ACRL Board of Directors
Editor’s note: The following statement was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on February 23, 2017. The Board wishes to acknowledge the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee’s input and work in drafting the statement.
As the higher education organization for librarians, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the transformation of scholarship. ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. In the spirit of previous statements, ACRL reaffirms its dedication to its core values: visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; and intellectual freedom. One of ACRL’s objectives is that “librarians accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.” Recent actions from the new Executive Branch agencies have cast the realization of this goal into jeopardy, and they run counter to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Core Values of Librarianship. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.
Agency orders to cease communication with the public – as well as a directive calling for the submission of EPA publications to administration review – had to be walked back in response to public outcry, but they set worrisome examples. These federal agencies are taxpayer-supported, and their outputs for public consumption and understanding are an essential service to everyone. Actions that silence scientists and other specialists employed by these agencies set dangerous precedents for fair and open, democratic governance and hinder the advancement of scientific knowledge by restricting the dissemination of research.
Privileging political viewpoints, rather than facts, erodes our country’s values of democracy, liberty, and equality. Limiting the ability of scientists and other educators to communicate with the public jeopardizes the creation of new knowledge. It is critical to maintain open communication from the government to the public, especially to support efforts to enfranchise disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who rely on access to publicly available resources to make economic and health decisions. If these restrictive acts go unchallenged, we potentially set in motion an era of complacency that could devolve into acceptance of suppression and a mindset that discourages civic engagement and undermines the principles of democracy, which rely on an engaged population.
ACRL considers it an ethical and professional responsibility to challenge attempts to call into question the validity of facts simply because they run counter to the establishment’s agenda, or to subvert access to information.
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. We will continue to advocate for and demand diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in our college and university libraries.
During the 2017 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, the ACRL Board of Directors discussed the transition of power in Washington, D.C. and the responsive protests in support of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, happening in our nation and around the world.
The Board sees this as an opportunity to reaffirm ACRL’s core values – visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; intellectual freedom; the ALA Code of Ethics; and the Library Bill of Rights. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.
At a time when many colleges and universities are working to highlight the importance of protecting inclusive learning environments, academic libraries have a critical role to play in creating spaces in which diverse and divergent viewpoints can be shared and exchanged. Our professional expertise is anchored in our ability to identify and make credible resources available to our diverse communities. As instructors, we teach students to critically evaluate information and to seek differing perspectives. As professionals, we readily foster intellectual freedom and promote net neutrality and open access.
The recent disappearance of pages from the White House website and attempts to silence scientists and the media are of serious concern to our Association. We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities. We oppose actions used to suppress free expression, academic freedom, and intellectual freedom in academe and condemn the use of intimidation, harassment, bans on entry to the United States from Muslim-majority countries, and violence as means with which to squelch free intellectual inquiry and expression. Together our distinct identities and beliefs reflect the richness of our global society.
The ACRL Board of Directors is dismayed to learn of the news that the new administration is considering eliminating funding for the NEH and other cultural agencies. The Board encourages you to make clear to the President and Members of Congress that you value federal funding for the humanities by taking action now!
One way to take make your voice heard is through the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) action alert. The NHA alert allows you to call and send email from the same interface and contains a sample script for phone calls. Some advocacy points that provide facts about the impact of NEH may be found on the National Humanities Alliance website.
We appreciate your support on this critical issue!
The ACRL Board of Directors continued its discussion about the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education at its meeting on Monday, June 27, 2016. The ACRL Board recognizes that there are librarians who are seeking guidance for using the Framework now that the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education have been rescinded. A number of ACRL groups and individuals are already working with the Framework to develop resources that will address the needs of librarians who previously relied on the Standards, including the ACRL Framework Advisory Board, the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee, and the Information Literacy Framework and Standards Committee.
The ACRL Framework Sandbox, which will be available Fall 2016, will provide a space for librarians to share examples of how they are using the Framework. This will include such things as lesson plans, rubrics, assessments, and learning outcomes. These resources will be tangible tools that librarians can adapt to their work. ACRL units are developing discipline-specific companion documents that address the need for learning outcomes and assessment. It is the Board’s intention to ensure that tools are available to assist all librarians in the practical application of the Framework.
Today the ACRL Board of Directors voted to rescind the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The Board will continue to discuss next steps to support all academic librarians working with information literacy at its public meeting on Monday afternoon at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando.
It is important to acknowledge the groundbreaking work embodied in the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, approved by the Board in 2000, in moving the profession forward. These Standards were co-developed with and subsequently endorsed by the American Association for Higher Education and the Council for Independent Colleges.
ACRL recognizes the tremendous contributions of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education and the transformational work of many ACRL members working with them. Those Standards paved the way for information literacy to become common language in many general education requirements and informed many regional and subject-oriented accreditation bodies. The Board will continue to seek input from the profession as the process moves forward.