University Libraries.

A New Framework for Information Literacy

In August 2012, the Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries convened a task force to update the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Co-chaired by Trudi Jacobson, Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University Libraries, the task force is made up of leaders in the information literacy field and higher education. They have recently released the draft of the first part of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education for review and comment from the field. This section of the Framework includes and introduction, the first three threshold concepts, a glossary and a bibliography. The second section of the draft, including more threshold concepts and sample scenarios, is slated for release this month.


This Framework is centered on the idea of threshold concepts, a pedagogical approach that has been explored in many disciplines in recent years but has only recently been applied to information literacy instruction. According to the draft's introduction, "threshold concepts are those challenging 'gateway' or portal concepts through which students must pass in order to develop genuine expertise within a discipline, profession, or knowledge domain." The first threshold in the draft, "scholarship is a conversation," focuses on a student's understanding that the body of knowledge on any topic is not represented by a single authoritative voice proclaiming the "truth," but is comprised of a variety of perspectives, which must be evaluated on their evidentiary merits.


The task-force's embrace of threshold concepts reflects changes in the information landscape over the past decade and reflects the evolving needs of students as both information producers and consumers. It also reflects the growing understanding the information literacy should be incorporated into the disciplines, requiring a flexible tool that can easily be adapted by disciplinary faculty. According to Jacobson:

"Threshold concepts are an entry point into information literacy that resonates with the faculty members I’ve spoken with. We need to encourage disciplinary faculty members to incorporate information literacy instruction into their courses, or to frame what they are already teaching. One-time, course-related sessions only provide an opportunity to explore the tip of the iceberg, and need to be augmented with faculty contributions. We believe that the framework will encourage the discussions necessary for this movement."



The task force is accepting feedback on the draft through April 15.


The University Libraries have many resources that add to the information literacy conversation, including:


Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction by Maria T. Accardi. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2013. Dewey Library / Z 711.25 C65 A27 2013.


The Information Behavior of a New Generation: Children and Teens in the 21st Century edited by Jamshid Beheshti and Andrew Large. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2013. Dewey Library / ZA 3075 I5325 2013.


Rethinking Information Literacy: A Practical Framework for Supporting Learning edited by Jane Secker, et al. London: Facet, 2013. University Library / ZA 3075 S384X 2013.


Ways of Experiencing Information Literacy: Making the Case for a Relational Approach by Susie Andretta. Oxford, UK: Chandos Pub., 2012. Dewey Library / ZA 3075 A53 2012.


For more information on resources on information literacy, contact Deborah Bernnard, Library and Information Science bibliographer, at 442-3699.


Post created by Cary Gouldin.

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