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.

Some items on this page are designated members only. Information on how to access members only items is available here.

Official ACRL Standards & Guidelines can be found in the Standards & Guidelines area of this site.

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.

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.

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. "Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy" is also available in an interactive, online version to facilitate discussion.

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. 

Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report
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.

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.

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. Press coverage: Inside Higher Ed, Library Journal: Academic Newswire, and American Libraries.

Environmental Scan 2010 (June 2011)
The 2010 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.

Environmental Scan 2003  (2003)
ACRL conducts an ongoing environmental scan to identify trends and emerging issues that may affect the future of higher education, academic libraries, and the association. This is the most recent version of the scan. This information is password protected for ACRL members only.

2010 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries (June 2010)
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 2010.

Establishing a Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication: A Call for Community Engagement (November 2007)
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. 
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

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.

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.

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.

People to People Ambassador Programs: College and Research Librarians Delegation to the People's Republic of China, led by Dr. Camila A. Alire (August 2006)
Journal covering the March 2006 Academic and Research Librarians delegation to China, which was part of the People to People Ambassador Programs.

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.

Factors Influencing the Number of Computers in Libraries: An Exploratory White Paper
White paper by ACRL's College Libraries Section.

Open Access and the ACRL Serial Publishing Program (June 2004)
White paper by ACRL staff addressing the issues surrounding open access and exploring financial implications for ACRL were it to adopt an open access model of publication for its serial publications. The paper was presented to and discussed by the ACRL Board at its June 2004 meting. If you are not a member of ACRL and would like access to this paper, e-mail  Kathryn Deiss .

Scholarly Communications Research Agenda (June 2004)
Prepared by ACRL's Scholarly Communication Committee, this research agenda was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors in June 2004.

YALSA's Oustanding Books for the College Bound (February 2004)
Listing prepared every five years by the Young Adult Library Services Association's Outstanding Books for the College Bound Committee. The list covers a range of subject areas and  brings together meaningful monographs from classics to modern works which help the college-bound prepare for a student's work at the college/university level.

Statement on Fair Use and Electronic Reserves (November 2003)
Statement endorsed by ACRL, ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Law Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association, in response to confusion about the TEACH Act and ongoing uncertainty regarding e-reserves and fair use.

Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians (October 2003)
This code of ethics, prepared by ACRL's Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, is an update to the 1993 "Standards for Ethical Conduct for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Librarians."

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 listservs. This document addresses issues related primarily to the formal system of scholarly communication.

Recruitment, Retention & Restructuring: Human Resources in Academic Libraries (May 2002)
This white paper, prepared by the Ad Hoc Task Force on Recruitment & Retention Issues (a subcommittee of the Association of College & Research Libraries Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group) summarizes the labor gap currently facing academic and research libraries, outlines the related issues and themes, and provides strategies for dealing with recruitment and retention issues in your library. The document is also available in  PDF

ACRL Statement on Professional Development (July 2000)
Prepared by ACRL's Professional Development Committee, the ACRL Statement on Professional Development is both a declaration and a mandate, through which the members and staff of ACRL declare our collective intent to strive for professional excellence through rigorous programs of lifelong learning and personal growth.

Do We Need Academic Libraries? (January 2000)
This position paper, written by Larry Hardesty, addresses the necessity of requiring accredited transregional and virtual institutions to maintain a physical library space.

ACRL/AASL Blueprint for Collaboration (2000)
Prepared by the AASL (American Association of School Librarians)/ACRL Task Force on the Educational Role of Libraries, this report outlines ways of initiating and fostering closer collaboration between librarians in K-12 and post-secondary education to the benefit of the constituencies they serve.

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.

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

Academic Librarianship and the Redefining Scholarship Project (March 1998)
This report from ACRL's Task Force on Institutional Priorities and Faculty Rewards was produced to help define and describe the kind of scholarship performed by academic librarians. The definitions are intended to extend the range of activities recognized as scholarly for the purposes of tenure, promotion, merit, or reward system guidelines.

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.

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.

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.