Last week, ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force released a partial draft of a new Framework for Information Literacy. This Framework is a move away from the “old” (existing) standards and toward a more adaptable (and I think realistic) understanding of information literacy. (For the record, I am a member of this committee but I do not speak on behalf of the committee here.) I offered some comments about the Framework on the Tame The Web blog, but I wanted to write something directed toward community college librarians here.
The new Framework will be developed through dialog between Task Force members, ACRL members, and the wider higher education community. At each stage of the process, drafts will be shared and opened up for public comment. It is important that community college librarians review the drafts and offer input which will be used to guide the process. We must be part of the process.
One of the challenges that the Task Force faces is to create a document that is meaningful across the entire spectrum of higher education. US higher education is amazingly diverse. As a subset of higher education, there is even a great deal of diversity within US community colleges.
With that being said, community college librarians must be part of the process, and we must be prepared to adapt the results of the process to meet our needs. I worry that some parts of the Framework will feel like they are aimed at bachelors-granting institutions, but they are not. Each threshold concept has implications and meaning for all areas of our curricula. One of the advantages of the new framework is that is does not attempt to outline strict standards. It does not write outcomes for your institution. It is really a document of potential attributes and dispositions that are intended to be molded to the needs of the local campus.
As this Framework grows and develops over time, our job will be to think about how it connects to community colleges. How do the defined threshold concepts change for underprepared students? How do we translate them for career programs? How do we utilize them to prepare our transfer students?
In the world if R. David Lankes, “True learning happens when books and friends, writing and understanding intermingle in a rich soup of participation.”