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Information Literacy Faculty Toolkit: Home

2015 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (ACRL)

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, developed by the  Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) was unveiled in 2015. The Framework is organized into six frames, each outlining a concept central to information literacy.   
Find out more about the six
concepts that anchor the frames within the tabs on this guide.

Research Guidance Rubric for Assignment Design


Students learn best from assignments that provide concrete and specific guidance on research methods. Librarians can help you design assignments that will guide your students toward effective research, and this rubric is one tool we use to do that.

Apply the Research Guidance Rubric for Assignment Design to your assignment to ensure that it has:

  • Clear expectations about source requirements
  • A clear rationale and context for resource requirements
  • Focus on the research process
  • Library engagement

IL at WilmU

Studies have shown that students characterize their own research competencies as inadequate for university-level work, and recognize that their research skills need improving (Head & Eisenberg, 2013, p. 3)

Many faculty report that while they would like students to acquire IL skills, they would rather it did not take away from their class time (Gonzales, 2001; Bury 2011).

We hope you will take advantage of this Guide as you plan your information literacy efforts. And remember, Librarians are always available to work with you to integrate these or other IL activities and assignments into your classes.

WilmU IL Rubric

Draft IL Survey Open Ended Questions:

  1. What are the most important kinds of information in your discipline/organization? (Scholarly Journals, Professional Society reports, Books, Business reports, technical reports, internal research reports, programming code, )
  2. Describe what information literacy looks like from the perspective of your discipline/profession?
  3. What does your discipline/professional field call “information seeking and use skills?”
  4. How do professionals in your field judge or evaluate the quality of information?
  5. What do you expect students/employees to be able to do with respect to information seeking and use by the end of your program/in their job?
  6. In what situations do students/employees need to locate, evaluate, and use information in the course of their progress through your major/work?
  7. What habits of mind/forms of critical thinking do you want your students/employees to possess when it comes to thinking about information when they leave your program/in your organization?
  8. How does a knowledge of your discipline help students/recently hired graduates think critically about issues in the classroom/your workplace?

What can Librarians Do?

Librarians can help faculty to:

1. Create better research assignments

  • Process over product
  • Tiered paper approach
  • Suggest alternatives to the 5-7 pages
    • Annotated bibliography
    • Literature review
    • Bibliographic essay
    • Evaluate and edit a Wikipedia entry
    • Grant or research proposal

2. Create tiered research assignments

  • Thesis/topic meeting
  • Research log/journal
  • Preliminary bibliography
  • Outline/introduction
  • Mid-point check
  • Drafts
  • Final paper

3. Embed smaller research components

  • Explain citations
  • Explain source types
  • Suggest disciplinary sources
  • Explain terminology (primary vs. secondary)
  • Explain information cycle

4. Teach Ubiquity

  • Research is not disconnected from the classroom
  • Research is not an outside skill
  • Research skills are necessary for all students' work

Using This Guide

This guide is designed to help faculty:

Find ideas, tools, and suggestions for incorporating the effective use of information resources in their courses

Develop research assignments that support the development of information literacy skills

Effectively assess information literacy skills and knowledge.

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." 1 Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives.

ACRL IL Competency Standards

Why Information Literacy?

Faculty have noted the need for student skills that go beyond merely knowing how to connect to information through the use of technology. Finding relevant quality information is now more difficult than ever, not easier or quicker. Today's workplace requires graduates who have not just learned how to use technology, but graduates who have learned how to learn, adapting their skills to a rapidly changing information environment.

Accrediting Bodies

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has led the way in developing and promoting information literacy guidelines and standards. The MSCHE report on Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education states that information literacy skills "apply to all disciplines in an institution’s curricula." The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), in concert with Middle States, developed a set of performance standards, each comprised of multiple skills, that define an information literate college graduate. Many discipline-specific accrediting agencies emphasize information literacy in their standards including: NCATE, IACBE, APA, ACS, CCNE.

Bibliographic Instruction vs. Information Literacy


Bibliographic Instruction

Information Literacy


Librarian-controlled Collaborative responsibility

Relation to curriculum

External/tangential Integral

Placement in curriculum

Isolated learning episodes (one-shot, workshop, unlinked credit courses) Pervasive throughout the curriculum, linked credit courses, competency requirements
Content focus Tools, search interfaces Overarching concepts, critical thinking processes, thinking standards
Teaching methods Librarian control/didactic approaches Construction of learning environments; librarian and faculty act as guides, facilitators
Learning transfer Limited (except skills) Increased due to multiple learning opportunities, internal motivation, deeper grasp of concepts
Assessment Focus on limited evaluations, skill-based measurements Focus on competencies, standards as yardstick for outcomes based approaches
Relationship to place Focus on specific libraries Focus on unbounded universe of information
Role of technology Limited, used in relatively inflexible ways Expanded role, variety of technologies selected to match instructional situations (“technology as a lever”)

Created by Craig Gibson, Associate University Librarian for Public Services at George Mason University, and Karen Williams, Digital Library Initiatives Team Leader, University of Arizona for the Immersion Program at ACRL/Institute for Information Literacy and Copyright held by ALA.

Library Director & Associate Professor

Additional Readings

Building Bridges: Connecting Faculty, Students, and the College Library

Building Bridges: Connecting Faculty, Students, and the College Library ebook

Chicago : American Library Association, 2010.

Offers advice on working with both instructors and students to develop assignments that successfully integrate your library's resources.

Information literacy instruction that works : a guide to teaching by discipline and student population ebook

Chicago : Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association, [2013]

This collection addresses how to meet with college and university students at all levels, teach research skills in subjects that are new to them, or develop a campus-wide information literacy initiative

Information literacy and workplace performance

Print Book Call # LC149.7 .G63 2002

Today's workplace demands skills for a productive use of information. This guide explores the basic skills, including thinking and decision-making, creativity enhancement, innovation and risk-taking, computer literacy, subject matter literacy, learning how to learn, and on-the-job help.

Teaching information literacy : 50 standards-based exercises for college students

Print Book Call # ZA3075 .B87 2010 

Covering the basics of planning, collecting, and evaluating, each of the 50 standards-based exercises in this book address one or more of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education and promote conceptual and applied skills via active learning, problem-based learning, and resource-based learning.