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Does the Framework?

May 22, 2015

In a few weeks, I will be co-moderating a discussion on the new(ish) ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education at the PaLA Northeast Chapter’s Spring Workshop. (BTW, you can register here: By design, the participants themselves will identify the specific topics they’d like to discuss. One thing I know, however, is that it’s likely to be a lively and interesting discussion. As I prepare, I’m wondering if anyone reading would like to comment on an aspect of the Framework. I know it’s early, but have you had any successes to report? Did a faculty colleague seem particularly interested in some aspect of the Framework? Has your department given serious thought about how to implement it into your IL instruction at the session or program level?

One of the things we heard again and again during the development of the Framework was that it would make it easier to engage our faculty colleagues in conversation about issues related to information literacy. It’s still early, but I’m glad to say my own experience so far supports this idea. At the beginning of this semester, a colleague told me he wanted to rework the assignments in his class and asked if I’d be interested in brainstorming ideas together. Of course I would! Specifically, he wanted to incorporate a social media experience into the course. And, wouldn’t you know it, the Framework proved to be a helpful reference point for us. Mainly, it helped him articulate the skills and dispositions he was trying to address in the assignment.

Of course, I’ve only mentioned practical issues related to the Framework. There are also really interesting discussions happening about the theoretical underpinnings of the Framework, namely threshold concept theory and the concept of metaliteracy. Personally, I still have some reservations about using threshold concept theory as a basis for the Framework. Still, in the end, I don’t think it makes the Framework any less useful as a (yep!) framework for thinking about information literacy. Even if I’m not sure that the six concepts are “threshold concepts,” I am convinced that they are six very useful concepts. If we can introduce students to them and design experiences where students get to grapple with them first hand, the students will benefit, not only during their academic careers, but also in their professional and personal lives.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bonnie Oldham permalink
    May 22, 2015 3:16 pm

    Adam, I would be interested in learning how other academic librarians are sharing information about the Framework with their faculty colleagues – one-on-one, via newsletters, etc., on their library’s Web pages, or in some other way.

  2. Adam Balcziunas permalink
    May 22, 2015 4:10 pm

    Good question! So far, the librarians here at King’s have shared information about the Framework mostly through one-on-one interactions and outreach. We also look for opportunities to talk about it at appropriate venues on campus. For instance, the faculty colleague I mention in the blog presented on his use of social media at our annual Tech for Teaching Day and was nice enough to allow me to introduce the Framework and talk about how it informed our thinking. We have also discussed the idea of developing a series of short presentations where we could focus on one or two concepts at a time. When and where to offer these sessions is TBD. Thanks!


  1. Unconferencing the Framework: A Follow-Up to “Does the Framework”? | CRD of PaLA

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