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Companion Document to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Social Work: About

Created by the ACRL/EBSS Social Work Committee, 2020

About this Guide


In 2018 the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Educational and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) Social Work Committee was charged with developing a companion document to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as it relates to social work education and practice. This guide is the result of a two year process to bring about a useable, accessible companion document. 

The overarching goal of creating this companion document is to clearly demonstrate where the ACRL Framework and social work educational competencies and standards, as well as professional ethics and values, intersect. To view where we identified overlaps between social work and librarianship, visit the ACRL Framework tab and note the font in bold text.


While it may be obvious that the core audience for this document are academic social work librarians, we also include social work educators, practitioners, social work students, and academic librarians from other disciplines as the key stakeholders of this tool.

For those outside the social work discipline, we encourage you to utilize this guide as a tool for reviewing your own disciplinary documents to see where they may align with the ACRL Framework. 

In line with the values of Equity and Inclusion, we prepared this guide to be an open, usable, “living” document. As we welcome a diversity of voices and reflections about this project, we encourage your feedback via the form linked below.

Guide Outline

Each tab in this guide provides text as the Framework relates to:

  • Social work practice
  • Social work education
  • Corresponding values, ethics, and standards between the two professions*
  • Sample learning outcomes and learning activities for information literacy instruction sessions

*From the beginning, we determined it was crucial to consult two major resources from the field of social work. We consulted the Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) as it sets forth thresholds for professional competence and social work education. Similarly, we utilized the National Association of Social Workers' (NASW) Code of Ethics, which outlines the profession's core values informing social work practice. These values include service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.


Yali Feng, Behavioral Sciences Research and Data Services Librarian, Library Liaison to Psychology, Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Olivia Given Castello, Head of Business, Social Science, and Education, Library Liaison to the School of Social Work, Temple University

Carin Graves, Library Liaison to Social Work, Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University

Sarah Johnson, MLIS, LMSW, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences Librarian, Hunter College, City University of New York 

Stephen Maher, MSIS, Librarian for Social Work and Psychology, New York University

Special thanks to Maureen Barry and Scott Marsalis for their suggestions, proofreading, and additional contributions.