Guidelines, Standards, and Frameworks

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.

A listing of ACRL standards, guidelines, and frameworks by topic area is below.  An alphabetical listing is also available. For other ACRL Board-approved documents that are not standards, guidelines, or frameworks, go to  White Papers & Reports.


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

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Originally prepared by the ACRL Access Policy Guidelines Task Force December, 1992, these Guidelines were rescinded on October 27, 2006 at the Executive Committee meeting in Chicago. They have been superseded by the 2005 ALA Guidelines, available here.

College and University Libraries

Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (October 2011)     
Guidelines for University Library Services to Undergraduate Students (June 2005)
Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (April 2012)

Community, Junior and Technical College Libraries

Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (October 2011)  

Education, Personnel, and Academic Status

ACRL Statement on Academic Freedom (June 2015)
Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (April 2012)
Guidelines for Academic Librarians Without Faculty Status
 (October 2011)
Statement on the Certification & Licensing of Academic Librarians (June 2007)
Guideline on Collective Bargaining (June 2008)
A Guideline for the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure of Academic Librarians (June 2010)
Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians (June 2007)
Standards for Faculty Status for Academic Librarians (October 2011)
A Guideline for the Screening & Appointment of Academic Librarians  (July 2009)
Statement on the,Terminal Professional Degree for Academic Librarians (June 2007)

Information Literacy and Instruction

Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education (filed February 2, 2015 as one of the constellation of information literacy documents from the association.)
     PDF version

Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators, Standards for (June 2007) 
     A Practical Guide (PDF booklet)
Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology (June 2006)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)
Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology Students (January 2008) 
     Chinese Translation (PDF)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)
Research Competency Guidelines for Literatures in English (June 2007) 
     Farsi Translation (PDF)
Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline (June 2003)
Objectives for Information Literacy Instruction: A Model Statement for Academic Librarians (Jan. 2001) 
     Greek translation (PDF)
     Spanish translation (PDF)
Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Jan. 2000) 
ACRL has a constellation of documents on information literacy; you may also find the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education of interest.

      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 Teacher Education (PDF) (May 2011)
     Farsi Translation (PDF)

Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries (October 2011)             
Psychology Information Literacy Standards (June 2010)
      Chinese Translation (PDF)
      Farsi Translation (PDF)

Political Science Research Competency Guidelines (PDF) (July 2008)
      Farsi Translation (PDF)
Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (October 2011)

Rare Books, Manuscripts, Special Collections, and Archives

Competencies for Special Collections Professionals (July 2008)
Guidelines for Borrowing and Lending Special Collections Materials for Exhibition  (January 2005)
Guidelines for the Interlibrary Loan of Rare and Unique Materials (June 2004)
Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections,  (July 2008)
Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections (September 2009)

Special Topics

Guidelines for Curriculum Materials Centers (January 2009)
Standards for Distance Learning Library Services (July 2008)
Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries (January 2006)