In 2009, academic librarians interested in visual information created the ACRL Image Resources Interest Group (IRIG), forming the first Visual Literacy Task Force in early 2010. ACRL charged the group with drafting a set of competency standards to complement the Standards and adopted the Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (the Visual Literacy Standards) in the spring of 2011. The ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education were approved by the ACRL Board of Directors in October 2011.[i] The Task Force’s article, ‘Visual Literacy Standards in Higher Education: New Opportunities for Libraries and Student Learning,’ promoted the Visual Literacy Standards as one method for librarians to develop students’ critical understanding, use, and production of visual materials.[ii] Three years later, members of the Task Force published the book, Visual Literacy for Libraries: A Practical, Standards-based Guide, providing librarians with practical ideas for instruction, including ideas for integrating the Visual Literacy Standards with the newly codified 2016 ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework).
In 2018, IRIG was charged with creating a companion document for the Framework[iii] and the second ACRL Visual Literacy Standards Task Force (VLTF) was convened for this purpose. From 2019 to 2021, the VLTF interviewed scholars, educators, and practitioners to ascertain the visual literacy trends, challenges, and opportunities for the twenty-first century.[iv] The companion document, the Framework for Visual Literacy in Higher Education, was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors April 6, 2022.
[i] Association of College Research Libraries (ACRL), “ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education,” October 2011,
[iii] “Chapter 14: Standards, Guidelines, and Frameworks,” Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), September 1, 2006. http://www.ala.org/acrl/resources/policies/chapter14.