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Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

This is the libguide version of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as laid out by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Appendix 2:  Background of the Framework Development

The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education were published in 2000 and brought information literacy into higher education conversations and advanced our field. These, like all ACRL standards, are reviewed cyclically. In July 2011, ACRL appointed a Task Force to decide what, if anything, to do with the current Standards. In June 2012, that Task Force recommended that the current Standards be significantly revised. This previous review Task Force made recommendations that informed the current revision Task Force, formed in 2013, with the following charge:

to update the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education so they reflect the current thinking on such things as the creation and dissemination of knowledge, the changing global higher education and learning environment, the shift from information literacy to information fluency, and the expanding definition of information literacy to include multiple literacies, for example, transliteracy, media literacy, digital literacy, etc.

The Task Force released the first version of the Framework in two parts in February and April of 2014 and received comments via two online hearings and a feedback form available online for four weeks. The committee then revised the document, released the second draft on June 17, 2014, and sought extensive feedback through a feedback form, two online hearings, an in-person hearing, and analysis of social media and topical blog posts.

On a regular basis, the Task Force used all of ACRL’s and American Library Association’s (ALA) communication channels to reach individual members and ALA and ACRL units (committees, sections, round tables, ethnic caucuses, chapters, and divisions) with updates. The Task Force’s liaison at ACRL maintained a private e-mail distribution list of over 1,300 individuals who attended a fall, spring, or summer online forum; provided comments to the February, April, June, or November drafts; or were otherwise identified as having strong interest and expertise. This included members of the Task Force that drafted the Standards, leading Library Information Science (LIS) researchers and national project directors, members of the Information Literacy Rubric Development Team for the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education initiative. Via all these channels, the Task Force regularly shared updates, invited discussion at virtual and in-person forums and hearings, and encouraged comments on public drafts of the proposed Framework.

ACRL recognized early on that the effect of any changes to the Standards would be significant both within the library profession and in higher education more broadly. In addition to general announcements, the Task Force contacted nearly 60 researchers who cited the Standards in publications outside LIS literature, more than 70 deans, associate deans, directors or chairs of LIS schools, and invited specific staff leaders (and press or communications contacts) at more than 70 other higher education associations, accrediting agencies, and library associations and consortia to encourage their members to read and comment on the draft.

The Task Force systematically reviewed feedback from the first and second drafts of the Framework, including comments, criticism, and praise provided through formal and informal channels. The three official online feedback forms had 562 responses; numerous direct e-mails were sent to members of the Task Force. The group was proactive in tracking feedback on social media, namely blog posts and Twitter. While the data harvested from social media are not exhaustive, the Task Force made its best efforts to include all known Twitter conversations, blog posts, and blog commentary. In total, there were several hundred feedback documents, totaling over a thousand pages, under review. The content of these documents was analyzed by members of the Task Force and coded using HyperResearch, a qualitative data analysis software. During the drafting and vetting process, the Task Force provided more detail on the feedback analysis in an online FAQ document.

The Task Force continued to revise the document and published the third revision in November 2014, again announcing broadly and seeking comments via a feedback form.

As of November 2014, the Task Force members included the following:

  • Craig Gibson, Professor, Ohio State University Libraries (Co-chair)
  • Trudi E. Jacobson, Distinguished Librarian and Head, Information Literacy Department, University at Albany, SUNY, University Libraries (Co-chair) .
  • Elizabeth Berman, Science and Engineering Librarian, University of Vermont (Member) •
  • Carl O. DiNardo, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Library Instruction/Science Librarian, Eckerd College (Member) • Lesley S. J. Farmer, Professor, California State University–Long Beach (Member)
  •  Ellie A. Fogarty, Vice President, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Member)
  • Diane M. Fulkerson, Social Sciences and Education Librarian, University of South Florida in Lakeland (Member) 
  • Merinda Kaye Hensley, Instructional Services Librarian and Scholarly Commons Co-coordinator, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Member)
  • Joan K. Lippincott, Associate Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information (Member)
  • Michelle S. Millet, Library Director, John Carroll University (Member)
  • Troy Swanson, Teaching and Learning Librarian, Moraine Valley Community College (Member)
  • Lori Townsend, Data Librarian for Social Sciences and Humanities, University of New Mexico (Member)
  • Julie Ann Garrison, Associate Dean of Research and Instructional Services, Grand Valley State University (Board Liaison)
  • Kate Ganski, Library Instruction Coordinator, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (Visiting Program Officer, from September 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014)
  • Kara Malenfant, Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives, Association of College and Research Libraries (Staff Liaison)


‚ÄčIn December 2014, the Task Force made final changes. Two other ACRL groups reviewed and provided feedback on the final drafts: the ACRL Information Literacy Standards Committee and the ACRL Standards Committee. The latter group submitted the final document and recommendations to the ACRL Board for its review at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Note: Filed by the ACRL Board February 2, 2015; Adopted by the ACRL Board January 11, 2016.