Awareness, adoption, and application of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy in health sciences libraries

Stephanie J. Schulte, Maureen Knapp


Objective: In early 2016, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) officially adopted a conceptual Framework for Information Literacy (Framework) that was a significant shift away from the previous standards-based approach. This study sought to determine (1) if health sciences librarians are aware of the recent Framework for Information Literacy; (2) if they have used the Framework to change their instruction or communication with faculty, and if so, what changes have taken place; and (3) if certain librarian characteristics are associated with the likelihood of adopting the Framework.

Methods: This study utilized a descriptive electronic survey.

Results: Half of all respondents were aware of and were using or had plans to use the Framework. Academic health sciences librarians and general academic librarians were more likely than hospital librarians to be aware of the Framework. Those using the Framework were mostly revising and creating content, revising their teaching approach, and learning more about the Framework. Framework users commented that it was influencing how they thought about and discussed information literacy with faculty and students. Most hospital librarians and half the academic health sciences librarians were not using and had no plans to use the Framework. Librarians with more than twenty years of experience were less likely to be aware of the Framework and more likely to have no plans to use it. Common reasons for not using the Framework were lack of awareness of a new version and lack of involvement in formal instruction.

Conclusion: The results suggest that there is room to improve awareness and application of the Framework among health sciences librarians.

 This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.


Information Literacy; ACRL Framework; Librarian Instruction; Librarians

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Copyright (c) 2017 Stephanie J Schulte, Maureen Knapp

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