ACRL Statement on the Dissemination of Federal Research

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.

ACRL Framework Advisory Board Member News

Since July 2015, the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board (FAB) has been actively working with the ACRL Visiting Program Officer (VPO) for Information Literacy to create a supportive and interactive environment for librarians to learn how to use the Framework. Original member leaders Tish Hayes, Susan Miller, and Donna Witek were joined by new member leaders kYmberly Keeton, Sara Miller, Raymond Pun, and Mark Szarko in October 2016 to further expand FAB’s range of expertise and perspectives.

Now three additional member leaders have been appointed to FAB by ACRL President Irene M.H. Herold to contribute to the priority projects for this spring, which include promotion and administration of the Framework Sandbox, continued collaboration with the Framework Curriculum Designer/Presenter team, and the introduction of the Framework Toolkit as a locally tailored professional development tool.

FAB is pleased to welcome the following new members for terms beginning immediately and running through June 2017:

  • Smita Avasthi – Public Services Librarian, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA
  • Candice Benjes-Small – Head of Information Literacy and Outreach, Radford University, Radford, VA
  • Joanna Gadsby – Instruction Coordinator, Reference Librarian, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD

In other FAB news, Tish Hayes and kYmberly Keeton have agreed to serve as Interim Co-Chairs of FAB beginning in mid-March through the end of May 2017, when FAB’s Chair Donna Witek will be out on leave.

And at the end of January 2017, Sharon Mader completed her term as ACRL VPO for Information Literacy. FAB extends their heartfelt thanks to Sharon for her leadership and mentorship over the last two years in her support of the Framework.

Member of the Week: Piper Martin

Piper MartinPiper Martin is the humanities and communication liaison librarian at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Piper has been an ACRL member since 2003 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 21, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Empathetic, skeptical, reflective.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by Eric Hazan; A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James; Memories from Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi; and Information Literacy and Social Justice edited by Lua Gregory and Shana Higgins.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaborative, connective, supportive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has been crucial in expanding my professional horizons, from serving on committees to attending inspiring conferences to reading its publications. I especially appreciate the structure ACRL provides to help connect librarians from all over North America; I have formed invaluable relationships—both collaborators and friends—through ACRL that have enriched my work and life immeasurably. Lastly, I am grateful for ACRL’s efforts to move our profession forward.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a liaison librarian in the research and instruction department of my library, my focus is on teaching and learning. I collaborate with teaching faculty to create dynamic, student-centered assignments and activities for instruction sessions in the disciplines with which I work, individual research consultations, and workshops. I will also teach a 3-credit course in the spring semester that incorporates the ACRL Framework and concepts of social justice. One of the most important aspects of my liaison work is building relationships: with teaching faculty, students, and members of the campus, community, and state. Through these relationships I am able to communicate the library’s importance and connection to the research and teaching that form the core mission of the university.

6. In your own words: I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be in a profession that allows me to regularly interact with so many intelligent, engaged people. It is both energizing and challenging to work alongside students as we grapple with the issues surrounding information in our world, and as trite as it sounds, every day I learn something new and stimulating. I am proud of the way that academic librarians have responded so nimbly to changes in higher education, and I look forward to continuing to create a better environment in which our students, staff, and faculty can learn and grow.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.

2017 ACRL Award Winners, Part 1

Congratulations to the following recipients of 2017 ACRL awards. Complete information on the ACRL awards program is available on the association website.

Watch ACRL Insider, social media, and ACRL Update for more award announcements in the coming weeks.

Member of the Week: Christina Chan-Park

Christina Chan-ParkChristina Chan-Park is a science librarian at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She recently joined the presenter team for ACRL’s new licensed workshop Building Your Research Data Management Toolkit: Integrating RDM Into Your Liaison Work. Christina has been an ACRL member since 2013 and is your ACRL member of the week for February 13, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, brain-stormer, learner.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading Toddler 411 by Ari Brown and Denise Fields. We adopted a 2-year old boy this past spring and I try to read a few pages each night while he plays during his bath.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, academic, dedicated.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I enjoy being around like-minded people in the ACRL community who have a passion for helping students and faculty succeed.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I have a much longer background as an academic than as a librarian so I often bring to my librarian colleagues a different perspective. The teaching and research faculty realize that I am a librarian by choice and that I have received as rigorous training as they have but are still sometimes surprised at the help and insight I can give them on their work.

6. In your own words: For me after jobs in teaching, research, and administration at the university level, being an academic/research librarian just feels right. I discovered over the years, that I like teaching process rather than content and specifically guiding others through the different stages of research. I like the one-on-one interaction and the exposure to different fields, and I have a soft-spot for graduate students.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.

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