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Information Literacy: Learning Community


From the ACRL Standards to... Critical Information Literacy and the ACRL Framework

IL Readings


IL Readings
— for an immersion in information literacy
— for the Cedar Crest IL learning community (of practice)

— from Critical Information Literacy to the ACRL Framework


ACRL Framework (website) current + the ACRL Framework Toolkit (research guide) + (STEM) companion document

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards (PDF) rescinded

with spaces and places to read and learn about information literacy —

images from online journal pages image


Project Information Literacy, The Provocation Series and Publications, like — 1) Learning to Ask Good Questions

College & Research Libraries, C&RL — 2) Research is an Activity , 3) Implementing the ACRL Framework, 4) Aha Moments, and 5) Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy 

portal: Libraries and the Academy — 6) From Standards to Frameworks for IL and 7) Teaching Threshold Concepts and the Framework

In the Library with the Lead Pipe — 8) Putting Critical Information Literacy into Context ♦   9) Dismantling the Evaluation Framework 

Communications in Information Literacy — 10) Decade of Critical Information Literacy 11) Introducing Critical Librarianship to Information Professionals 

Reference & User Services Quarterly — 12) Backward Design: A Must-Have Library Instructional Design Strategy

Journal of Academic Librarianship — 13) Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice

Library Quarterly — 14) Make Me Think! Exploring Library User Experience through the Lens of (Critical) Information Literacy (abstract)

Hybrid Pedagogy — 15) LibGuides: Pedagogy to Oppress?

Progressive Librarians Guild — 16) Information Criticism: Where is It?

Journal of Radical Librarianship — 17) That Which Cannot Be Named: The Absence of Race in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education 

Reference Services Review — 18) Situating Information Literacy in the Disciplines: A Practical and Systematic Approach for Academic Librarians  PDF Preprint, PDF of slide presentation

Libraries and Information Research — 19)  What Information Competencies Matter in Today's Workplace? 

ACRL Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy — 20)  Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy (whitepaper)

Understanding by Design, 2nd ed. / Wiggins and McTighe, 2005 ebook, 2000 video

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 3rd ed. / Paulo Freire, 2014 ebook

Creating Significant Learning Experiences, 2nd ed. / L Dee Fink, 2013 ebook

Teaching to Transgress / bell hooks, 1994 ebook

Where Research Begins / Mullaney and Rea, 2022 ebook (Chap. 1

The One-Shot Library Instruction Survival Guide, 1st ed. / Buchanan, McDonough, 2014 print (Chap. 2)  

Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Studies through Critical Race Theory, 2021 ebook

Critical Theory for Library and Information Science, 2010 ebook

Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods, 2010 intro

Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis, 2013 book review

Critical Journeys: How 14 Librarians Came to Embrace Critical Practice, 2014 book review

Developing Dynamic Intersections between Collection Development and Information Literacy Instruction / Scull, 2017 WorldCat

critlib “critical librarianship, in real life & on the twitters”




IL Readings, continued... Critical Information Literacy (CIL)


Downey, Annie. 2016. Critical Information Literacy : Foundations, Inspiration, and Ideas. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.


"The final component of critical literacy is that it leads to social activism or change." P. 40


Framework terminology


threshold concepts

conceptual understandings

knowledge practices




critical self-reflection

knowing vs. understanding


Critical Information Literacy terminology


critical pedagogy

appreciative inquiry


Highlights from the readings

1) Learning to Ask Good Questions / Fister, 2022

2) Research is an Activity / Hosier, 2019

"The Standards guidelines in particular fail to address the contextual nature of research in a meaningful way...."

"[T]he ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (the Framework) marks a shift from skills-based thinking about information literacy to concept-based thinking."

"The Framework’s attention to context in particular can be used to create a model of instruction that involves the study of research in addition to the application of research skills."

"Each of the Framework’s six frames is infused with implicit and explicit references to the contextual nature of research."

"Research is not a basic skill that can be mastered for a lifetime in the space of a single instruction session. It is an activity that relies heavily on rhetorical context. It is also a subject of study with areas of inquiry in which context is often a large consideration."

3) Implementing the ACRL Framework / Latham, Gross, Julein, 2019

"Several interviewees reported that trying to implement the Framework in instruction has made their teaching more conversational (rather than strictly lecture based) and more interactive."

"... I am able to use the language of the concepts from that frame in that skill-based activity."

"... the Standards are behavioral changes that we can see. And the Framework is more impactful...."

"The Standards, because of their more concrete nature, might have seemed to be the more likely candidate for facilitating interactive and hands-on activities. Instead, the Standards apparently often resulted in lectures and demonstrations instead, perhaps because of their concrete nature. The more abstract frames may actually be encouraging more innovative thinking among these librarians about how to incorporate these high-level concepts into information literacy instruction."

4) Aha Moments / Eva, Rocca, MacKay, 2021

5) The Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy: Academic Librarians’ Involvement in Critical Library Instruction / Tewell, 2018

6) From Standards to Frameworks for IL / Foasberg, 2015

"While the Standards describe a skills-based IL, the Framework defines IL as a social practice."

"This article will argue that the Framework’s embrace of a social constructivist philosophy— which holds that knowledge is constructed and reconstructed through social interactions—makes it less reductive and more inclusive than the Standards’ positivist approach, which assumes that information is objective and measurable."

7) Teaching Threshold Concepts and the Framework / Dawes, 2019

8) Putting Critical information Literacy into Context / Tewell, 2016

“Critical information literacy aims to understand how libraries participate in systems of oppression and find ways for librarians and students to intervene upon these systems.”

”…critical pedagogy argues that ‘learners can only truly learn to think critically if they are also able to challenge the problems within power and knowledge structures in their educational environment as well as the wider world.’”

9) Dismantling the Evaluation Framework / Bull, MacMillan, Head, 2021

10) Decade of Critical Information Literacy / Tewell, 2015

'Critical pedagogy is a way of thinking about, negotiating, and transforming the relationship among classroom teaching, the production of knowledge, the institutional structures of the school, and the social and material relationships of the wider community'

"Critical pedagogy is in essence a project that positions education as a catalyst for social justice..."

"... information literacy should and does have aims that surpass critical thinking and encompass lifelong learning, arguing that librarians must work with others to 'help students become transformed so that they might transform the world'"

"A selection of scholarship critiquing the concept of information literacy and/or the ACRL Standards provides the context necessary for introducing critical information literacy"

"The profession’s tendency to narrowly and mechanistically define information literacy and the ways it may be developed"

"... how user-generated content in information literacy instruction can incorporate marginalized voices and challenge dominant forms of knowledge production and discourse."

"... the often-overlooked ALA Core Values of Librarianship statement in guiding IL policy and practice,..."

RE: Reference services, "... a strong argument for reference as more than question-answering."

"... the shortcomings of the ACRL Standards in practice and considers the consequences this shift to critical information literacy might entail, including a redefining of librarians’ roles as educators as opposed to service providers and a potential de-emphasis of the library as a resource."

'Librarian’s Manifesto for Change' and "calls for a 'Liberation Bibliography,' a manifesto for change to challenge this exploitative situation." (i.e. neoliberalism / corporatized academy / fast captitalism) 

😲 "... to playing a 'The Price is Right' game wherein students guess the yearly subscription cost of individual journals and thus learn about the business of scholarly communication."

stopped at the CONCLUSION... Friday 1/6/2023

11) Introducing Critical Librarianship to Information Professionals / Rapchak, 2021

'Anti-racist pedagogy focuses on the process of learning, not necessarily making students reach a uniform and prescribed outcome'

12) Backward Design: A Must-Have Library Instructional Design Strategy / Ziegenfuss and LeMire, 2019

13) Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice / Elmborg, 2006

14) Make Me Think! Exploring Library User Experience through the Lens of (Critical) Information Literacy / Hicks, Nicholson, Seale, 2022

15) LibGuides: Pedagogy to Oppress? / Hicks, 2015

16) Information Criticism: Where is It? / Anderson, 2005

17) That Which Cannot Be Named: The Absence of Race in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education / Rapchak, 2019

"Given that the Framework is meant to provide guidance to students on the information environment, an understanding of the systems of oppression within that environment—and of the library’s complicity in those systems—is essential to the 'reflective discovery of information'"

"While an improvement on the Standards, the Framework could do more to examine the contexts in which information is required, the role played by the identity of information creators and consumers, and the impact of historical forces and structural oppression on the communities that engage in knowledge creation."

18) Situating Information Literacy in the Disciplines  / Farrell, Badke, 2015

Situated Learning “The most important task of an undergraduate student is to learn to be a member of the discipline community, to tap into the knowledge and practice embodied in that community.”

Student Alienation "Students need less information dissemination and more invitation to join the academy as participants"

Situated Information Literacy "Librarians and faculty work together in designing curriculum, wording assignments, and determining rubrics" 

Situated Information Literacy "Work With Disciplinary Faculty to Design Learning Opportunities"

From Situated Information Literacy to Transformative/Critical, "A learner is literate from this perspective
when he or she able to 'challenge the status quo and effect social change'" “engaging in collaborative and participatory information practices that critique society and lead to social action” is transformative.

19) What Information Competencies Matter in Today's Workplace? / Head, Van Hoeck, Eschler, Fullerton, 2013

20) Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy / ACRL whitepaper, 2013

"In order for academic libraries to demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes, librarians must accelerate the transition to a more open system of scholarship and transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations."


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