ACRL Board of Directors’ actions, January/February 2015: Highlights of the Board’s Midwinter meetings


During the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, the ACRL Board of Directors met on January 31 and February 2. The Board set aside time to engage with the three goal area committees (Value of Academic Libraries, Student Learning and Information Literacy, and Research and Scholarly Environment) to assess progress on the ACRL strategic plan, the Plan for Excellence.

The Board also engaged with the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force cochairs, received about 60 visitors to its meeting, and during the open mic session heard a variety of viewpoints on the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and the current Standards from 12 of the visitors to the Board meeting who wished to address the Board regarding the proposed Framework.

The Board received updates from the Assessment in Action grant facilitators, Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey Editorial Board chair, ACRL’s councilor, and ACRL’s ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee representative.

The ACRL Board of Directors also took the following actions:

Value of Academic LibrariesGoal: Academic libraries demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.
  • Approved the ACRL Plan for Excellence change to include the revision of objective three as follows: “to improve outreach to higher education organizations in order to articulate the value of libraries in higher education.”
  • Endorsed the Society for Human Resources Management Competency Model (SHRM) for use among library HR officers.
  • Approved the submission of a grant proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for continued research demonstrating the value of the academic library.
    Student LearningGoal: Librarians transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations.
  • Approved the ACRL Plan for Excellence objective change to include the removal of objective four, “build capacity for the librarians’ role in supporting faculty and future faculty as they work to develop information literate students” because this work is infused throughout the student learning goals and objectives.
  • Recognized the excellent work of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force in producing a document that will forge new directions in information literacy research and practice, and filed, as one of the constellation of ACRL information literacy documents, the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education (www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework), in order to foster its intended flexibility and potential. See sidebar for additional information.
    Research and Scholarly EnvironmentGoal: Librarians accelerate the transition to a more open system of scholarship.
  • Approved ACRL Plan for Excellence objective change to include the removal of objective four, “create and promote new mechanisms that reward and value open scholarship.”
  • Established a Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group to provide a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas related to digital scholarship centers.
    Enabling Programs and Services
  • Endorsed new strategic initiatives for CHOICE and the capital expenditures to support them.
  • Reviewed the FY14 year-end financial report, the first quarter FY15 report, and the preliminary draft of the FY16 budget.
  • Decided to pilot holding a virtual spring meeting of the full ACRL Board on April 17 rather than a face-to-face meeting of the Executive Committee.
  • Heard plans for the next membership survey and focus groups, as well as ideas about how to increase member engagement.

More from the ACRL Board on the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The ACRL Board of Directors met January 31, 2015, to discuss the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This agenda item was coupled with an open microphone session.

We were very pleased that about 60 guests were present for this conversation, 12 of whom opted to speak with the Board during open mic. Comments continued to be thoughtful, thought provoking, impassioned, and very helpful. Many thanks colleagues, for your full participation through a variety of options for giving input.

The Board met again February 2, 2015, to take action. Following careful consideration of the comments and perspectives contributed by librarians over many months, the Board engaged in thoughtful discussion about the role of the Framework and the existing Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, the expectations of the membership, and how best to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of stakeholders while moving the profession forward in its thinking about information literacy.

The Board voted to recognize the excellent work of the Task Force in producing a document that will forge new directions in information literacy research and practice, and, in accordance with parliamentary procedure, we took the official action of “filing” the Framework document in order to foster its intended flexibility and potential. This positive action allows the Framework to move forward as a dynamic, living document that can be changed in the future without needing a vote and full Board approval. In plain English, this means that we have accepted the Framework, and it will assume its place among the constellation of documents used by information literacy practitioners.

Many members expressed excitement about the Framework and intend to begin working with it immediately. Others see its value, but believe it pairs well with a set of standards. We’ve heard so many perspectives on the value or lack of value of standards, that we feel conversation around sunsetting the Standards is best deferred until we’ve had more opportunity to see how the Framework builds. In the interest of sustainable change, we believe that this path will allow for greatest success.

The Board believes the ACRL membership needs time and support for learning more about the Framework and how to use it. To that end, Sharon Mader, the newly appointed ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy, will work for the next two years with member leaders to develop resources to help members use the framework, such as building a “sandbox,” for examples and experimentation by the community.

Sharon, who has long been involved as a valued member leader in ACRL’s information literacy and standards work, will also work with member stakeholders to create a professional development program to assist librarians in understanding how they can use the Framework and contribute to its growth.

The Board expresses its deep appreciation for the hard work and deep consultation that the Task Force undertook to engage the community in this stimulating scholarly discussion and to introduce this new way of thinking and practicing to the academic library community. You can look forward to learning more about ACRL’s work in this area and opportunities to engage in in the weeks and months ahead.

—Karen Williams, ACRL President

Copyright 2015© American Library Association

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