Framework Spotlight on Scholarship: “From Standards to Frameworks for IL” by Foasberg

This week’s Spotlight on Scholarship features Nancy M. Foasberg’s article “From Standards to Frameworks for IL: How the ACRL Framework Addresses Critiques of the Standards” [paywall], published in portal: Libraries and the Academy in Volume 15, Number 4, October 2015, pp. 699-717.

This article presents an analysis of both the ACRL Information Literacy Standards and the Framework with the goal of clarifying the underlying assumptions and philosophies of both documents. Foasberg argues that the Framework represents a social constructivist approach to knowledge and information, and that this approach is a significant departure from the positivist approach of the Standards. Foasberg makes this argument through careful analysis of how both documents approach three concepts: information, information literacy, and students/learners. The argument hinges on the importance of context: the context in which information comes to be; contexts in which literacies associated with information are developed; and the connections students are invited to make between their own past, present, and future contexts as information creators. Foasberg also articulates the ways the Framework creates a space for a critical information literacy by inviting librarians and learners to not only understand that authority is constructed and contextual but also to critique and then change the ways that this is so. Foasberg argues that “the Framework imagines students as participants who can change a community or recontextualize it,” and that the fundamental philosophy underlying the document that leads to this claim must be grappled with in order for the Framework to see its potential reached in professional praxis.  

Nancy M. Foasberg is Humanities Librarian and Coordinator of Instructional Services at Queens College Libraries, City University of New York.

The “Framework Spotlight on Scholarship” column is a weekly post series highlighting scholarship that uses, builds on, critiques, or responds to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.