Friday, July 1, 2016

My Work on the Framework Advisory Board, Part 2

Disclaimer: Although I am a member of the Framework Advisory Board (FAB), my views shared in this post do not necessarily reflect those of FAB as an ACRL division body, nor of ACRL.

In yesterday’s post I shared about FAB’s activities and initiatives, through the Framework’s formal adoption by the ACRL Board in January 2016. In this post I will cover what we’ve been working on since, to give a picture of the concrete professional development support on the way in the coming months in light of the rescission of the Standards.


The Framework Sandbox has been on the collective mind of the profession since at least January 2015, when the Framework was ‘filed’ by the Board. The ‘filed’ version [pdf] describes the Sandbox twice:

“Develop and maintain an online “sandbox” so that ACRL members and academic librarians can try out approaches to using the Framework and share their experiences,”

“...the emerging research agenda resulting from the Framework and how best to showcase ongoing research in the recommended sandbox.”

FAB spent quite a bit of time discussing, brainstorming, and envisioning what this Sandbox could (and should) be, to meet the needs of information literacy instruction practitioners wanting to share their instructional and other materials related to the Framework.

By fall 2015, we had developed a vision and purpose for the Sandbox, which will be both a platform for sharing and a repository for accessing materials. It will serve as a resource for librarians seeking to engage the Framework in their instructional practice, providing access to materials created by those in the field, in formats including but not limited to concrete lesson plans and assessments, practitioner reflections, conference presentation slidedecks, formal research studies, and theoretical critical analyses.

Practitioners will be able to create their own user accounts through which to upload their materials for others to use and build on, and will in turn be able to search the database for materials using a variety of parameters (such as discipline, information literacy frame, scope, and type of institution). It will be an open access database for librarians and other academic partners to share, organize, and archive educational resources related to the use of the Framework in practice and professional development.

FAB identified the Cherry Hill Company as a developer who would meet this project’s needs. (NB: We are indebted to the librarians behind Project CORA for referring us to Cherry Hill Company, after a positive recommendation of the company’s work in developing that platform.) After several months of conversations and contract talks, ACRL entered into contract with Cherry Hill Company in April 2016.

I am on the Sandbox Project Team within FAB, joining Sharon Mader and Susan Miller, and together we serve as liaisons between Cherry Hill Company, FAB, and ACRL, to manage this project through its development and targeted launch of fall 2016. We are grateful to ACRL for generously funding this important project. More information about the Cherry Hill Company and the Sandbox can be found in this June 2016 ACRL Insider post.

I’ve been excited about the Sandbox since the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force recommended such a space exist to augment the Framework, and getting to take a direct part in its development is one of my best experiences serving on FAB so far.

If you’re working with the Framework in any capacity, I hope you’ll jump in and share your work once the Sandbox launches later this year.


The Framework Toolkit was conceived in response to feedback that more Framework professional development opportunities should have minimal barriers to access, including monetary cost. The Toolkit will be an online location where content designed to be used for professional development will be made available. FAB (along with Sharon Mader) will be developing the content, which in turn is being determined by the questions, confusion, and needs related to the Framework we are receiving and observing from colleagues in the profession.

Librarians will be able to use the Toolkit’s resources for their individual professional development needs, to form a community of practice with their colleagues around the Framework and information literacy, and to develop workshops and professional development opportunities in their libraries and/or for local, regional, state, or other events and conferences. It is designed in modules which can be adapted and tailored to the needs of the audience. All of the content will be licensed CC BY-NC.

Draft Outline of Initial Modules:

  • Introduction and Finding Time to Engage the Framework
  • Foundations of the Framework
  • The Framework’s Structure
  • Collaboration & Conversations with the Framework
  • Developing Goals, Outcomes, and Assessments
  • Hacking the Framework

Future Modules:

  • Curriculum Mapping with the Framework
  • The Framework and Accreditation

This initiative is the most labor-intensive project FAB has planned so far. And yet, it is the initiative we see as possibly having the greatest impact on supporting librarians in embracing and using the Framework, especially when taken in tandem with the Sandbox. Our target launch for this Toolkit is next January at Midwinter 2017.

Curriculum Developers/Presenters

ACRL proposed to FAB the need for a “roadshow” for the Framework, along the same lines as the Scholarly Communications and Standards for Libraries in Higher Education slate of licensed workshops available to libraries. Now that the Framework has been in use for over a year and a half since its ‘filing’, there is a growing community of librarians experienced in using the Framework to positively impact student learning in information literacy, such that putting out a call for curriculum developers to help create these licensed workshops--to train others in doing the same--is now possible.

As such, FAB is working in the next few months to put out this call for curriculum developers who would also serve as presenters of this licensed workshop content, both online and in-person. In addition, these individuals will lend their expertise to FAB’s development of the freely available Toolkit, strengthening its content by their participation in its development.

If this role interests you, keep an eye out on ACRL Insider and the various Framework related communication channels for this call.    

Collaboration with other ACRL groups

FAB has begun collaborating with the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC), as the standing division-level committee with oversight of information literacy work in the association. SLILC has delegated a Framework Project Team to liaise with FAB on projects and initiatives that have the Framework in common. Examples so far include a curated Framework calendar of past and future events (conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.) focused on Framework professional development, and, plans for a curated Framework bibliography of works related to the Framework.

SLILC is also working on a new bi-monthly C&RL News column about the Framework, and I was honored to have been invited to be one of the inaugural authors. As of this writing my article has been assigned to the November 2016 issue.

Sharon Mader has been working in collaboration with the Communication Studies Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) and the Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS), as they update their discipline-specific information literacy standards documents in conversation with the Framework. She’s also been working with the Information Literacy Standards and Frameworks Committee (ILSFC) as they propose updates to the ACRL Policies and Procedures that include definitions and outline processes for revision and update of the association’s various standards, guidelines, and frameworks.

Sharon Mader gave me permission to share her slides from the “ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Update” presentation she gave at ALA Annual [.pptx download] on June 26, 2016. They contain further details about some of the initiatives described above (including the particular, situated processes EBSS and WGSS are taking to update their discipline-specific standards in light of the Framework--really fascinating stuff!), which are on the way from FAB and ACRL.


I hope sharing this information openly and transparently, as a member of FAB but not speaking for FAB or ACRL, is useful and helpful to those for whom the Standards being rescinded last weekend represents a significant shift in how you will do your information literacy instruction work moving forward. FAB is listening, and now that there is no confusion as to the future of these two documents, we are ready to hit the ground running on the above projects, to get you the support, training, and professional development you need.

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