History of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The process leading to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was initiated in July 2011 with the creation of a review task force to examine the existing Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education and recommend whether ACRL should retain them for an additional five-year cycle, revise the standards, or rescind the standards if they were regarded as no longer useful. This review was part of the regular cyclical process to which all ACRL standards and guidelines are subject, per ACRL policy. The review task force made a unanimous recommendation to the ACRL Board that the standards be significantly revised. After approving the recommendation, the Board charged another task force, described above, to undertake revision.

The review task force report provided a number of suggestions for change, all of which have been considered by the current revision task force. These suggestions included:

  • Simplifying so the model will be understood by a range of audiences with appropriate language for these audiences
  • Addressing affective, emotional learning outcomes; extending the cognitive focus of the current standards
  • Incorporating components from the metaliteracy conception of information literacy
  • Reconceptualizing the issues of format
  • Addressing the role of student as creator and as content curator
  • Aligning the resulting item with the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner

How The Process Has Unfolded

The revision task force began its work in March 2013 and has worked continuously by forming subgroups, sharing resources, and holding online and in person meetings to discuss and debate approaches. They have not undertaken a comprehensive literature review because the review task force already did so when they examined the current standards and recommended extensive revision. The revision task force has discussed key seminal works as well as notable recent scholarly and professional literature.

In April 2013, the co-chairs submitted a prospectus to the ACRL Board of Director’s Executive Committee, outlining a proposed approach to revising the standards. The Board discussed this prospectus and provided feedback in May 2013 to help direct the focus of the revised standards. In June 2013 the revision task force held an open forum at the ALA Annual Conference, where the co-chairs shared the latest thinking and sought reaction from the library community. That reaction, combined with additional exploration by task force members, further shaped the direction of the revisions.

In August 2013, the co-chairs used a Delphi approach to share a brief overview of the refined direction and test the waters with several thought leaders who are not serving on the revision task force. This input proved valuable for further guiding the direction of the new model, as articulated above.

In September 2013, the task force co-chairs submitted an interim report to the ACRL Board. The Executive Committee of the ACRL Board discussed this with co-chair Trudi Jacobson during their meeting on Friday, October 25, 2013. They provided feedback orally and in a memo. In fall 2013, the task force continued this iterative process by discussing the current direction more broadly for reaction from the larger library and higher education community in a series of online open forums (recording and ppt available.)

The task force heard so much valuable feedback during the online open forums, that they took more time than initially planned to craft a robust draft for public review and comment. Read their December 16, 2013, interim report to the ACRL Board with a request for extending the timeline. The ACRL Board discussed this with co-chairs Craig Gibson and Trudi Jacobson during their meeting on Saturday, January 25, 2014. They provided feedback orally and in a memo. Also in January at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, the task force held another open forum and met to continue refining their draft framework.

On February 20, 2014, the task force released draft 1, part 1 of the Framework
for Information Literacy for Higher Education
 for comment. On March 10, they submitted another interim report to the ACRL Board. The Executive Committee of the ACRL Board discussed this with co-chairs Craig Gibson and Trudi Jacobson during their meeting on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. They provided feedback orally.

On April 4, 2014, the task force released draft 1, part 2 of the Framework, with formal comments due April 21. On April 4 & 17 they held online open forums. (Recordings and pdf of slides are posted.)

In late April, the full task force met in person in Chicago in late April for an an energizing and productive meeting. Members engaged in very important discussions as they come into the home stretch of their work and reached decisions that they share with the ACRL Board in their June 4 interim report.

On June 17 the task force released a revised draft 2 of the Framework for review and comment. The ACRL Information Literacy Standards Committee shared its feedback with the task force and the ACRL Board of Directors.

The task force held hearings about this revised draft, both in person on June 28 at ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV, and online July 7 and 11.

On June 28, 2014, the ACRL Board of Directors met with the task force co-chairs at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference to discuss their June 4 interim report, the revised draft and comments received to date. They offered that the task force could extend its timeline if more time is needed. A follow up memo from the Board captures the nature of their feedback to the task force.

In mid August, the task force decided to extend the timeline. (See August 13 information memo from the task force co-chairs to the Board.) They were carefully reviewing responses provided this summer through the questionnaire, in person and online forums, social media outlets, and personal communications to task force members. The comments from the community provided sufficient ideas that the task force spent additional time revising the document.

As they continued to carefully consider all feedback they received, task force members continued to address recurring questions/concerns via the Frequently Asked Questionsection of their website.

The revisions were substantive enough to warrant an additional period of review by ACRL members and the community before sending to the ACRL Board of Directors for a vote. Therefore the task force circulated draft 3 of the Framework on November 12, 2014. Once the feedback deadline passed on December 12, the task force made minor changes.

On January 5, 2015, they sent a final document to the ACRL Information Literacy Standards Committee. That group met virtually and approved the proposed Framework, sending it on to the ACRL Standards Committee for review. They, too, met virtually and approved the document, sending the final document the ACRL Board of Directors on January 16 for their consideration at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

The Task Force met with the Board during their first Midwinter meeting on Saturday afternoon, January 31, 2015, from 4-5 p.m. at the Sheraton Chicago, Ontario Room. The Board began by engaging in a conversation and may or may not reach the stage of taking action.

There was an open microphone session immediately following the Framework conversation on Saturday afternoon from 5-5:30 p.m. and interested individuals were invited to take advantage of this opportunity to share thoughts with the Board. Guests were invited to address the Board for up to three minutes (time may be adjusted to accommodate demand). The ACRL President invited guests to speak and staff kept time.

The ACRL Board met a second time at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on Monday afternoon, February 2, at the Sheraton Chicago, Sheraton Ballroom 1. There was time on the Board agenda for the Framework at 3:15–4:00 p.m.

At this meeting, the ACRL Board took the official action of ‘filing’ the Framework document, in accordance with parliamentary procedure. This allows it to be changed without needing Board approval, in order to foster its intended flexibility and development.

Read more in an update from the ACRL Board.

One comment

  • The link to the old standards on this Web page no longer works. I strongly suggest that an archived version of the Standards remain on the Web for historical purposes at least. It’s also important to be able to access various drafts of the Framework for the same reasons. Thank you!

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