Framework Spotlight on Scholarship: “Seeking Social Justice in the ACRL Framework” by Battista et al [CIL 9.2]

Today’s Spotlight on Scholarship features the article “Seeking Social Justice in the ACRL Framework” by Andrew Battista, Dave Ellenwood, Lua Gregory, Shana Higgins, Jeff Lilburn, Yasmin Sokkar Harker, and Christopher Sweet, published in a special issue of Communications in Information Literacy focusing on the Framework: Volume 9, Issue 2, 2015, pp. 111-125.

This article, the second featured in CIL Volume 9 Issue 2, is a reading of the filed and adopted version of the Framework through the lens of social justice. More specifically, the authors–all of whom led in the circulation of a petition for more explicit integration of social justice and civic engagement in the Framework’s development–situate their analysis of the Framework within other social justice oriented critiques of the Framework, and ultimately accomplish several important things. They make a case for the IL threshold concept “Information as a Human Right” (while yet critiquing the Delphi study methodology upon which the current IL threshold concept research is based); argue that a more intentional consideration of culture would strengthen the Framework; propose that the development of a critical consciousness that leads to action is a necessary component of IL; deconstruct the Framework’s treatment of authority by reminding us of the power that comes with it; and, offer the important civic-minded question: “To what end do we teach information literacy, and to what end to do we help students become critical and engaged citizens?” While sections of the article read as advice to those interested in engaging and using the Framework to teach an intentionally critical information literacy attuned to power, privilege, and agency, this article also serves well as an introduction to the concepts, concerns, and values associated with critical information literacy using the Framework as its starting (not end) point, for those new to this approach and curious to learn more.

Andrew Battista is Librarian for Geospatial Information Systems at New York University; Dave Ellenwood is Research & Instruction / Social Sciences Librarian at University of Washington Bothell; Lua Gregory is First Year Experience & Humanities Librarian, and Shana Higgins is Interdisciplinary & Area Studies Librarian/Library Instruction Coordinator, both at University of Redlands; Jeff Lilburn is Public Services Librarian at Mount Allison University; Yasmin Sokkar Harker is Student Liaison Librarian and Associate Law Library Professor at City University of New York School of Law; and, Christopher Sweet is Information Literacy Librarian at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Please note: As of this posting, the Spotlight on Scholarship column will move to a bi-weekly (every other week) posting schedule.

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