Guidelines & Standards

ACRL is the source that the higher education community looks to for standards and guidelines on academic libraries. ACRL promulgates standards and guidelines to help libraries, academic institutions, and accrediting agencies understand the components of an excellent library. These standards, guidelines, and model statements are reviewed and updated by the membership on a regular basis. The ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures contains complete information on the creation and review of ACRL standards and guidelines.

An alphabetical listing of ACRL standards and guidelines is below.  A listing by topic area is also available. Archival and research copies of all past versions of ACRL standards and guidelines are available in the print edition of C&RL News.

ACRL standards and guidelines are issued under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States license.

Non-English translations of ACRL standards and guidelines are contributed by individual volunteers from the library community and are not vetted by ACRL. Neither ACRL nor American Library Association is responsible for translation errors.

For other ACRL documents that are not Standards & Guidelines (for example, white papers, position statements, and reports from ACRL and ALA units), go to  White Papers & Reports.

Academic Librarians Without Faculty Status, Guidelines for (October 2011)
     PDF version

Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries, ALA-SAA Joint Statement on (July 2009)

Appointment, Promotion and Tenure of Academic Librarians, A Guideline for (June 2010)

Certification & Licensing of Academic Librarians, Statement on the (May 2011)

Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline (January 2012)

Collective Bargaining, Guideline on (June 2008)

Competencies for Special Collections Professionals (July 2008)

Curriculum Materials Centers, Guidelines for (January 2009)

Distance Learning Library Services, Standards for (July 2008)

Distance Learning Library Services, Standards for - Draft Revision (August 2014)

Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (April 2012)

Faculty Status of College and University Librarians, Joint Statement on (October 2012)

Faculty Status for Academic Librarians, Standards for (October 2011)
     PDF version

Information Literacy Instruction, Objectives for: A Model Statement for Academic Librarians (Jan. 2001)
      Greek Translation (PDF)
     Spanish Translation (PDF)

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Jan. 2000)
      PDF (NOTE: While the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education are currently in force, during 2013-15, an ACRL task force is extensively revising them. Read more and listen to recordings from open forums held Fall 2013, Spring and Summer 2014.)

     Chinese Translation (PDF)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)
     French Translation (PDF)
     Greek Translation (PDF)   
     Italian Translation 
     Japanese Translation (PDF) 
     Slovenian Translation (PDF) 
     Spanish Translation

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Journalism Students and Professionals  (PDF) (October 2011)

Information Literacy Competency Standards for Nursing (October 2013)

Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology Students (January 2008) 
     Chinese Translation (PDF)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)

Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology (June 2006) 
      Chinese Translation (PDF)
      Alternate Chinese Translation (PDF - external link)
      Farsi Translation (PDF)

Information Literacy Standards for Teacher Education (PDF) (May 2011)

Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries, Guidelines for (October 2011)

Interlibrary And Exhibition Loan Of Special Collections Materials, ACRL/RBMS Guidelines For (January 2012)  

Libraries in Higher Education, Standards for (October 2011)
      PDF

Media Resources in Academic Libraries, Guidelines for (April 2012)

Political Science Research Competency Guidelines (PDF) (July 2008)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)

Preparation of Policies on Library Access, Guidelines for the (Dec. 1992)
Originally prepared by the ACRL Access Policy Guidelines Task Force December, 1992, these Guidelines were rescinded on October 27, 2006 at the Executive Committee meeting in Chicago. They have been superseded by the 2005 ALA Guidelines, available here.

Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators, Standards for (June 2007) 
     A Practical Guide (PDF booklet)
     Spanish Translation (PDF)

Psychology Information Literacy Standards (June 2010)
     Chinese Translation (PDF)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)

Research Competency Guidelines for Literatures in English (June 2007)
     Farsi Translation  (PDF)

Screening and Appointment of Academic Librarians, A Guideline for the (July 2009)

Security and Theft in Special Collections, Guidelines Regarding (September 2009)
     Spanish Translation (PDF)

Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections, Guidelines on the,  (July 2008)

Terminal Professional Degree for Academic Librarians, Statement on the (May 2011)

University Library Services to Undergraduate Students, Guidelines for (October 2013)

Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (October 2011)
     PDF