White Papers and Reports

A number of white papers, position statements, reports from ACRL and ALA units, and the like have been produced over the years and published online. Below is a list of these items, which will continue to grow to reflect the work of the association and its members.

Official ACRL Guidelines, Standards, and Frameworks can be found in the Guidelines, Standards, and Frameworks area of this site.

Value of Academic Libraries/ Assessment

Creating Sustainable Assessment Through Collaboration: A National Program Reveals Effective Practices (November 2017)
This occasional paper, published by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, synthesizes the results of the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success, which involved over 200 campus teams led by librarians designing, implementing, and evaluating an action-learning project that sought to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy. The paper looks at the collaborative practices advanced by the AiA program and explains how these practices promote assessment aligned with institutional priorities, encourage common understanding among stakeholder groups about attributes of academic success, produce meaningful measures of student learning, create a unified campus message about student learning and success, and focus on transformative and sustainable change.

Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research (September 2017)
Developed for ACRL by OCLC Research, Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research investigates how libraries can increase student learning and success and effectively communicate their value to higher education stakeholders, and identifies the next generation of necessary research to continue to testify to library impact. This action-oriented research agenda includes a report on all project phases and findings; a detailed research agenda based on those findings; a visualization component that filters relevant literature and creates graphics that can communicate library value to stakeholders; a bibliography of the literature analyzed; and a full bibliography of the works cited and reviewed. This publication is also available for purchase in print through the ALA store. Learn more about the report in this ACRL Presents webcast.

Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects (April 2017)
This report synthesizes individual project reports from more than 50 campus teams which participated in the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Succes from April 2015 to June 2016. Positive connections between the library and aspects of student learning and success in five areas are particularly noteworthy. These findings can be adapted to other settings with care and consideration to local context. Because the findings are derived from action research, which is situated in authentic institutional contexts, the results reflect “on the ground” practices in terms of resources available and campus priorities. Read the full report and share the executive summary broadly with campus stakeholders.

Documented Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success: Building Evidence with Team-Based Assessment in Action Campus Projects. (April 2016)
This report synthesizes more than 60 individual project reports from higher education institutions which participated in the second year of the ACRL program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success. Using past findings from projects completed during the first year of the program as context, the report identifies strong evidence of the positive contributions of academic libraries to student learning and success in four key areas. In addition the report reveals that a collaborative team-based approach on campus is an essential element of conducting an assessment project and planning for subsequent action. Read the full report and share the executive summary broadly with campus stakeholders.

Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the Field (January 2015)
This report synthesizes results from over 70 higher education institutions from across North America which completed team-based assessment projects during the first year of Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success. The projects resulted in promising and effective approaches to demonstrating the library’s value to students’ academic success. The findings from these campus teams are impressive. By demonstrating the variety of ways that libraries contribute to student learning and success, academic librarians are establishing connections between such academic success outcomes as student retention, persistence, GPA, engagement, graduation, career preparedness, and different aspects of the library (e.g., instruction, reference, space and facilities, and collections).

Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summits (June 2012) (PDF)
A report on two invitational summits supported by a National Leadership Collaborative Planning Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of ACRL's Value of Academic Libraries Initiative. The report – co-authored by Karen Brown, associate professor at Dominican University, and ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara Malenfant – summarizes broad themes about the dynamic nature of higher education assessment that emerged from the summits. Additionally, listen to a conversation with Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Megan Oakleaf, co-chairs of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries committee, about the report. Press coverage: Chronicle of Higher Education and Library Journal.

Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report (September 2010)
A review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries, developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University. The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists, where gaps in this research occur, and to identify the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance. Press coverage: Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and Library Journal.

What Chief Academic Officers Want from Their Libraries: Findings from interviews with Provosts and Chief Academic Officers (October 2007)
This is the central finding from a recent survey of Provosts and Chief Academic Officers conducted on behalf of the Association for College and Research Libraries by Leigh S. Estabrook and the University of Illinois

Task Force on Academic Library Outcomes Assessment Report (June 1998)
Report from ACRL's Task Force on Academic Library Outcomes Assessment, which includes suggestions for incorporating outcomes assessment into ACRL standards, as well as for using them in other contexts.

Sources of Information on Performance and Outcome Assessment (1997)
A list of sources compiled by ACRL's Standards and Accreditation Committee on the topic of Performance and Outcome Assessment.

Data Management

Academic Libraries and Research Data Services: Current Practices and Plans for the Future (PDF)
This survey reports the findings of a cross section of academic libraries in the United States and Canada to provide a baseline assessment of the current state of and future plans for research data services in academic libraries. Recently the academic library community has identified data curation as one of the top ten trends in 2012. Some academic libraries are already engaged in these activities, and others are examining ways they can best provide a range of research data services. As science becomes more collaborative, data-intensive, and computational, academic researchers are faced with a range of data management needs. Combine these needs with funding directives that require data management planning, and there is both a need and an imperative for research data services in colleges and universities. Academic libraries may be ideal centers for research data service activities on campuses, providing unique opportunities for academic libraries to become even more active participants in the knowledge creation cycle in their institution.

Environmental Scans and Trends

2018 Top Trends in Academic Libraries (June 2018)
The ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future.

NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Library Edition
This report describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, a 15-year-old ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies poised to influence learning, teaching, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of academic and research libraries.

Environmental Scan 2017 (March 2017) (PDF)
The 2017 environmental scan by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee explores the current atmosphere in the world of academic and research libraries along with trends that will define the future of academic and research librarianship and the research environment. The document builds on earlier ACRL reports, identifying several emerging issues.

2016 Top Trends in Academic Libraries (June 2016)
The ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future.

Environmental Scan 2015 (March 2015) (PDF)
The 2015 environmental scan by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee explores the current atmosphere in the world of academic and research libraries along with trends that will define the future of academic and research librarianship and the research environment. The document builds on earlier ACRL reports, identifying several emerging issues.

2014 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries (June 2014)
The ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top ten trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future. This list was compiled based on an extensive review of current literature and an e-mail survey that was sent to ACRL members in February 2014.

Environmental Scan 2013 (April 2013) (PDF)
The 2013 environmental scan by the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee explores the current atmosphere in the world of academic and research libraries along with trends that will define the future of academic and research librarianship and the research environment. The document builds on earlier ACRL reports, identifying several emerging issues.

Future of Academic Libraries and Higher Education

New Roles for the Road Ahead: Essays Commissioned for ACRL’s 75th Anniversary (March 2015) (PDF)
In this collection of essays commissioned for ACRL’s 75th Anniversary, authors Steven J. Bell, Lorcan Dempsey, and Barbara Fister share their thoughts on the world in which academic libraries will thrive, ways libraries are responding to change, and new roles for libraries and librarians. The essays include reflections on ways academic libraries can succeed in a changing higher education environment, take advantage of opportunities, and think about the best ways to deliver both ongoing and innovative services to students and faculty. These wide-ranging topics are bound by the singular understanding that action will need to be taken soon in order to stay current and relevant as ACRL celebrates its past successes and looks ahead to its future. The report also includes an introduction by Nancy H. Allen and afterword by Betsy Wilson.

Building with Purpose: A Quantitative Overview and Analysis of New U.S. Academic Library Construction, 2000–2014 (February 2015)
The first in a set of Occasional Reports on academic library construction and renovation. Authored by Christopher Stewart, this report presents a rich set of data on, and analysis of, new library construction over the past fourteen years.

Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Scenarios for the Future of the Book (May 2012) (PDF)
Many current conversations about the future of libraries assume that printed books will give way to e-books. This report by David J. Staley, Staley, director of the Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching in the History Department of Ohio State University, presents four alternate possible scenarios for the future, based in part on feedback from academic library directors. It includes scenarios which intentionally favor the continued existence of the printed book as a viable technology so that academic and research librarians may expand their thinking about the future to include a richer set of environmental conditions.

Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025 (June 2010) (PDF)
For academic librarians seeking to demonstrate the value of their libraries to their parent institutions, it is important to understand not only the current climate. We must also know what will be valued in the future so that we can begin to take appropriate action now. This document presents 26 possible scenarios based on an implications assessment of current trends, which may have an impact on all types of academic and research libraries over the next 15 years. They are organized in a “scenario space” visualization tool, reflecting the expert judgment of ACRL members as to their expectations and perceptions about the probability, impact, speed of change, and threat/opportunity potential of each scenario. The study draws out implications for academic libraries and includes an appendix with a suggested activity, also available as an editable document so that you may customize this activity for use in your library. Additionally, listen to a discussion with the report's authors about how to stretch your imagination and why considering possible futures is worthwhile.

Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries (February 2007)
Essay derived from a Roundtable on Technology and Change in Academic Libraries, convened by ACRL on November 2-3, 2006 in Chicago.

The Future of Higher Education: A View from CHEMA (August 2006)
A report presented by CHEMA and ECAR, with generous sponsorship from Carter & Burgess, Inc., and produced for CHEMA by APPA.

Information Literacy

Global Perspectives on Information Literacy: Fostering a Dialogue for International Understanding (March 2017) (PDF)
ACRL’s Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC) has gathered information literacy experts from around the world—including Africa, Canada, Europe, Oceania, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East—to explore information literacy from each author’s regional and/or cultural perspective and share individual international perspectives that demonstrate how information literacy is viewed, taught, and conceptualized internationally. The thirteen chapters examine research trends, models of information literacy, theory and practice, the role of librarians, and future visioning.

Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment (March 2013) (PDF)
Written by a working group of leaders from many parts of the ACRL, this white paper explores and articulates three intersections between scholarly communication and information literacy. The paper also provides strategies for librarians from different backgrounds to initiate collaborations within their own campus environments between information literacy and scholarly communication. The white paper explores and articulates three intersections between scholarly communication and information literacy, and provides strategies for librarians from different backgrounds to initiate collaborations within their own campus environments between information literacy and scholarly communication. "Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy" is also available in an interactive, online version to facilitate discussion.

A Progress Report on Information Literacy: An Update on the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report (March 1998)
A follow-up report to the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report outlining the progress made toward the meeting the recommendations put forth in the initial report.

Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report (January 1989)
This report from the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy called for more attention to information literacy at a time when many other learning deficiencies are being expressed by educators, business leaders, and parents and includes six recommendations for meeting information literacy needs.

Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (June 1999)
This statement was created to provide an interpretation of general intellectual freedom principles in an academic library setting and, in the process, raise consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work.

Recruitment and Retention

Achieving Racial and Ethnic Diversity among Academic and Research Librarians: The Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of Librarians of Color (July 2007)
A White Paper by the ACRL Board of Directors Diversity Task Force, produced by Teresa Y. Neely, Ph.D. and Lorna Peterson, Ph.D.

Culture Keepers VI
A companion piece to the ACRL Diversity White Paper by Julie Todaro.

Scholarly Communication and Copyright

Environmental Scan of OERs, MOOCs, and Libraries: What Effectiveness and Sustainability Means for Libraries’ Impact on Open Education (March 2014) (PDF)
Authored by Carmen Kazakoff-Lane. Kazakoff-Lane (Extension Librarian at the Brandon University John E. Robbins Library in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada), this research report introduces and provides background on the open educational resources (OER) and massive open online course (MOOC) movements and investigates the effectiveness and challenges to sustainability of each. The report will be of interest to those who are seeking to learn about OERs and MOOCs, as well as to those for whom the roles of librarians in the realm of open education is an interest, and includes a substantial set of references for further investigation.

Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment (March 2013) (PDF)
Written by a working group of leaders from many parts of the ACRL, this white paper explores and articulates three intersections between scholarly communication and information literacy. The paper also provides strategies for librarians from different backgrounds to initiate collaborations within their own campus environments between information literacy and scholarly communication. The white paper explores and articulates three intersections between scholarly communication and information literacy. the paper provides strategies for librarians from different backgrounds to initiate collaborations within their own campus environments between information literacy and scholarly communication.

Establishing a Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication: A Call for Community Engagement (November 2007) (PDF)
This white paper, by ACRL's Scholarly Communications Committee, encourages academics, librarians and their key partners to gather more data on practices that both enable and inhibit the production of scholarship and its communication. The report results from a one-day invitational meeting to collectively brainstorm the evidence needed to manage and influence the changing system of scholarly communication. It identifies eight themes, with research possibilities in each area, and invites broad comment.

Stepping through the Open Door:  A Forum on New Modes of Information Delivery in Higher Education (September 2007)
Report from an invitational forum, held March 5 and 6, 2007 in Denver, sponsored jointly by ACRL, EDUCAUSE and the National Association of College Stores.

Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication (June 2003)
Scholarly communication is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic discussion lists. This document addresses issues related primarily to the formal system of scholarly communication.