Framework for Information Literacy Reactions Part I

In late February, the ACRL  Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force released the first draft of the much-anticipated Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Since then, bloggers have dissected the text, championing highlights and asking tough questions. Some key concepts, as shown through their words:

The Framework seeks to encourage value

“Though, as we partner more with faculty outside of the library, we will likely find more opportunities for reinvention and different ways to express our instructional “value.” –Nicole Pagowsky

“The section titled “Stakeholders” that begins on page 8 provides librarians with a convincing argument to work with faculty and other academic units.On the other hand, how many times must we prove ourselves? How many times must librarians attempt to partner with other academic units on campus, only to be rebuffed or ignored?” – Jacob Berg

“…when I was able to frame the lesson in terms of the research process as inquiry it all came together.” Andy Burkhardt on putting the Framework to the test with a new class and finding it helpful in making the research concepts “click”

The Framework fosters collaboration

Troy Swanson at Tame the Web  hopes that “librarians and faculty can… move past the one-shot session toward more meaningful pedagogical exchange. ”

But I do really love that this framework emphasizes the fact that information literacy instruction is not (and cannot be) the sole domain of librarians. I have always resisted the notion that we are the only people who can and do teach this, and I think in embracing this idea and focusing more of our energies in supporting disciplinary faculty teaching these skills, dispositions, etc. is vital in the current environment.” – Meredith Farkas

Questioning the terminology 

Donna Witek, a proponent of metaliteracy, questions the presence of the term in the Framework, “I don’t think metaliteracy should be elevated by name to the extent that it is in the new draft ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.”

“As I see it, the ACRL’s recognition of multiple literacies is long overdue. However, when looking at it from a sociocultural perspective, the ACRL’s metaliteracy cannot be viewed as a single unified literacy, but more as an integrated version of academic literacy. And metaliteracy should be viewed more as a learning outcome, rather than a learning objective.” – Amanda Hovious

“Doing a more thorough reading of the new ACRL #infolit framework. Love the concepts. Worried about jargon. Accessible to non-librarians?” – @mylibrarydude

The conversation about the Framework’s final version is just beginning

Many, including some of the bloggers mentioned above, have responded with questions, comments and ideas to ponder. When a group gathered to discuss the Framework at my library, we wondered what the faculty response would be. Are faculty going to be equal partners in this conversation? How do they feel about the threshold concepts? How open will they be to the collaborative assignments suggested in the draft? Is the presence of jargon an attempt to assert our place at the academic table? We concluded that it will be our job to help communicate the vision of this document, and hope that the final document is one that is based on a shared vision among all stakeholders.

The feedback survey is open until 5pm Central time tomorrow, Tuesday, April 15th, and more enjoyable to complete than your taxes.

Jaime Hammond
Naugatuck Valley Community College

Linking Library Use to Student Success

This post was written by Jaime Hammond, Acting Director of Library Services, Naugatuck Valley Community College

No academic library is alone in the desire to demonstrate value through impact on student retention and graduation rates. In this age of data driven thinking, any quantitative measurement that aligns with the goals of the institution means money, retained positions, increased space, and more. In the November 2013 issue of College and Research Libraries, Graham Stone and Bryony Ramsden describe the process by which their institution, the University of Huddersfield, has expanded on a project to measure library impact on student grades.

Based on the results of 8 participating institutions in England, the Huddersfield group made the following conclusion: “there is a positive relationship between book borrowing and degree result, but not between library entries and degree result.” They go on to say,

“While identifying a relationship is of great importance in both academic library use and in considering the importance of maintaining a public library service, identifying specific groups of high or low users of resources and their level of achievement will provide data which can be used more extensively to the benefit of library users.”

Those who seek to measure library use through correlative studies struggle with extrapolating meaningful data, and Stone and Ramsden’s observation is keen to that struggle.

The study also provided tools that any library looking at a study should review. First, they released all of their data (anonymized) publicly, which can be accessed at They also created a toolkit, “which provides instructions for libraries to extract their own data and benchmark it against the anonymized project data {mentioned] above.” The toolkit can be accessed at: . This project has moved into Phase II, which will add additional data and hopefully explore student behavior even further.

Teams Selected for ACRL Assessment in Action Learning Community

Assessment in Action Program LogoACRL has selected 75 institutional teams from a pool of 98 applicants to participate in the first year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 29 states and 3 Canadian provinces. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.

In their applications each institution identified a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers or academic administrator). They also identified goals for their action learning projects.

“The top applications were distinguished by the team composition, their readiness and the quality of their project goals. We also looked for strong institutional support to help the teams see their projects through to completion.” said Terri Fishel, vice chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and library director at Macalester College. “The application reviewers sought action learning projects with the greatest potential to contribute to the greater library and higher education community.”

The proposed topics of selected institutions include:

  • Do students who attend information or media literacy sessions attain higher grades than students who did not?
  • How does students’ work with special collections materials affect their ability to think critically and develop intellectual curiosity?
  • Do re-admitted students (who have appealed dismissal) improve their academic performance and persist at a higher rate due to mandatory meetings with a librarian for research assistance?
  • Does our new library/learning resource center facility have an impact on the student community, contributing to student enrollment and excitement about completing skills sessions and library orientations?
  • Do library contributions to a program for at-risk students (empowering them by connecting more deeply to local community issues through faculty partnerships and learning projects) enhance research, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills? Are library efforts to support this program helping to increase student success and retention?
  • Are library interventions to increase students’ media fluency skills effective at improving their digital storytelling abilities?
  • In what ways does library participation in a targeted sophomore year program lead to higher graduation and retention rates, improved student engagement and satisfaction, as well as post-graduation success?
  • What is the impact of embedding librarians in our student scholar program?

To ensure project results are disseminated to the broader community, each institutional team will submit a final report and each librarian team leader will prepare and deliver a poster at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. The AiA program, part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2013-June 2014. The librarians will participate as cohort members in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses. An important component of the AiA program is establishing a learning community where librarian team leaders have the freedom to connect, risk and learn together.

“I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse group of institutions pursuing these very interesting project ideas,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, co-chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee, a lead facilitator in the AiA program and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The program facilitators are strongly committed to establishing an environment which supports collaborative learning and shared competence. We can’t wait to get started!”

Learn more about the AiA program at the ACRL 2013 conference during the session Update on Value of Academic Libraries Initiative from 1:30 — 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12.

AiA is a three year program. ACRL will be selecting 100 additional institutions to participate in the 2014-2015 class. Stay tuned for an announcement in January 2014 with more details on how to apply for the next round.