Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Updates from the Framework Advisory Board [ACRL Insider]

This piece is cross-posted and was originally published in ACRL Insider. It was written by me on behalf of the Framework Advisory Board (FAB).

On June 27, 2016, the ACRL Board of Directors outlined next steps for professional development related to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The purpose of this post is to share in more detail what the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board (FAB) has been working on to support librarians in using the Framework. Details have been previously shared in a February 2016 C&RL News piece (see “Resources from the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board” in News from the Field).

Discussion list  and WordPress Website

FAB’s two-year term began in July 2015. Earlier that spring, ACRL set up the Framework discussion list, as a space for practitioners to share ideas and support in their use of the Framework. As of this writing there are 1,710 subscribers.

FAB’s first order of business was to develop a WordPress website to disseminate information on upcoming professional development opportunities related to the Framework.

Spotlight on Scholarship

In October 2015 the Framework Spotlight on Scholarship (FSS) launched, which is a column / blog post series that curates and describes the Framework literature being published. FSS highlights scholarship that uses, builds on, critiques, or responds to the Framework. Originally a weekly series, after the new year it became biweekly; it is currently on summer hiatus, with plans to return in the second or third week of August 2016. At present the column has published reviews for twenty-one articles.

“Framing the Framework” Webcast Series

As ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy, Sharon Mader attended information literacy conferences throughout fall 2015 and identified the opportunity to begin formal (profession-level) conversations with rhetoric, composition, and writing studies scholar-practitioners. In response to this opportunity, FAB planned, coordinated, and helped develop two ACRL e-Learning webcasts: Framing the Framework Series (see “View archived Framework webcast recordings”).

Addressing the theory and practice of collaboration between librarians and writing faculty, the first webcast in January 2016 focused on collaborating through connecting the national guideline documents in both fields, and the second webcast in February 2016 focused on partnerships between writing and information literacy instructors on various campuses. FAB might develop more “Framing the Framework” webcasts in the future, but the initiatives that follow are currently our top priorities.


The Framework Sandbox was first proposed in January 2015 by the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force who developed the Framework. By fall 2015, FAB had developed a vision and purpose for the Sandbox, which is intended to serve as 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 a freely available 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 and ACRL entered into contract with Cherry Hill in April 2016. More information about the Cherry Hill Company and the Sandbox can be found in this June 2016 ACRL Insider post. (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.)

If you’re working with the Framework in any capacity, we hope you’ll jump in and share your work once the Sandbox launches in fall 2016.


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.

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 available under a creative commons license.

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

FAB’s target launch for this Toolkit is early 2017.

Curriculum Developers/Presenters

A Framework “roadshow” along the same lines as the Scholarly Communications and Standards for Libraries in Higher Education licensed workshops will be developed. Now that the Framework has been in use for over a year and a half there is a growing community of librarians experienced in using the Framework. Through an upcoming call for curriculum developers, we will invite those developing this expertise to help us create these licensed workshops. The curriculum developers will also serve as presenters for both the online and in-person workshops.

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

Collaboration with other ACRL groups

FAB is collaborating with the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC), which is the standing division-level committee responsible for advancing the ACRL Plan for Excellence goal area related to student learning. Collaborative projects to date include a curated Framework calendar of past and future events focused on Framework professional development (conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.) and plans for a curated Framework bibliography.

As Visiting Program Officer, Sharon Mader has been working for the last year and a half with the ACRL Information Literacy Frameworks and Standards Committee (ILFSC) and Chair Jeanne Davidson to revise Chapter 14 of the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, to outline processes for review, revision, rescinding, and creating new information literacy disciplinary documents. The revisions that were approved by the ACRL Standards Committee at ALA Annual 2016 will be available in the near future on the ACRL website. The ILFSC is also developing a Tipsheet to help sections in this work.

The Communications Studies Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) and the Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) have been working for over a year on new information literacy disciplinary companion documents that relate the Framework to documents and practices in the disciplines. Their progress was reported at the “Framework Update” sessions at ALA Annual 2015 and 2016, and at the WGSS Discussion Forum at ALA Annual 2016, where members of other discipline sections in the audience agreed that everyone would benefit from sharing experiences as they work on their own documents.

Members of FAB are excited to be developing resources that will help librarians at all types of institutions use the Framework. If you have ideas for additional resources that would be helpful please share them with FAB via acrl@ala.org.

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