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ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Toolkit

This module will address how the Framework’s components work both separately and in connection to each other to provide a more coherent and comprehensive understanding of the Framework.

Essential Questions

  • How do the components of the Framework work together to provide both practical and theoretical structure for information literacy teaching and learning?

Learning Outcomes 

By engaging with this module and its content, you will:

  1. Define the components of the Framework in order to know what each component is and is not.

  2. Recognize how the components relate to each other in order to make sense of the Framework.

  3. Identify areas of understanding and gaps in knowledge related to the components of the Framework in order to develop confidence in reading and using the document.

This activity will help you get a picture of how the Framework relates to what you are doing at your institution. Use these questions to guide your close reading (and re-reading) of the Framework document.

Information Literacy Definition

As you read through the definition of information literacy under Key Concepts in this module, think about these questions:

  • What parts of the definition of information literacy resonate with your instructional program?
  • Does your program emphasize any of the ‘integrated abilities’ more than others?
  • Do you have an activity or component of your instructional program that you think exemplifies a part of the definition particularly well?
  • Are there specific areas--disciplines, classes, situations, etc.--where you can make direct, identifiable connections to a part of the definition? (i.e., does your first year writing program emphasize “creating new knowledge”?)
  • What parts of the definition are the most problematic for you, either personally or in your current institutional context?
  • Are there any parts of the definition that you’d have trouble explaining to any of your stakeholders--other librarians, teaching or research faculty, students, etc.?

The Six Frames

The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) grouped ideas, skills, and terms neatly into one or two areas. Since the Framework intentionally disrupted that arrangement, it may be helpful to look at some of the familiar information literacy concepts that show up in different frames and to think about how they could relate to each frame. For example, the idea of source credibility is featured in one place in the Standards, but it relates to several different frames.

Once you focus on a concept, consider these questions:

  • How does each frame address (or not) a facet of (credibility)?
  • How can viewing this concept (credibility) through multiple frames impact the ways that you teach?
  • Are there teaching situations where this concept (credibility) might be addressed or discussed differently?
  • Do these different facets of (credibility) spark any ideas for a new teaching approach or opportunity?

Once you have read through the Framework in relation to your current instructional program, you may want to launch a discussion with your colleagues. Here are some questions to start a conversation:

  • You are updating your information literacy program’s web presence and wish to incorporate the Framework in some way. What parts of the Framework make the most sense for your program to quote, cite, highlight, and/or emphasize? Why those parts?

  • You are developing measurable student learning outcomes and wish to incorporate the Framework. What parts of the Framework can you consult for possible language you can adapt into student learning outcomes? Why those parts?

  • You are creating outreach materials for faculty in your liaison subject areas and wish to incorporate the Framework. What parts of the Framework will you consult and adapt for use in your outreach materials, with the goal of collaborating with faculty in your liaison subject areas? Why those parts?

Because the Framework can be abstract, it may be helpful to use activities to visualize how the frames are interconnected. Here are some ideas for exercises:

  • Use a concept map to visualize the parts of the Framework in relation to each other, based on connections identified through close reading the text.

  • Draw what the Framework “looks” like to you. If done in a group, each librarian can present to the others their drawing and what it “means”/signifies to them. The activity would conclude with everyone reflecting on what they discovered about the Framework through this exercise.

  • Map the different components of the definition of information literacy to the content of the six frames.

Bigger components of the Framework

The Framework is made up of an Introduction, the six Frames, and three Appendices.

Definition of information literacy in the Framework

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning. (This is found near the end of the "Introduction" to the Framework.)

The parts that make up each frame

  • frame name/title

  • shorter definition of the information literacy concept

  • longer description of the information literacy concept

  • example knowledge practices

  • example dispositions

Not included in the Framework

  • measurable student learning outcomes

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. (2015, 2016). Retrieved from