Selected Case Studies Using the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

(Compiled by Bonnie Gratch Lindauer for the ACRL March 17, 2001 National Conference Program "Information Literacy: Connecting Standards and Objectives to Programs and Curriculum: Case Studies of Early Implementors")

1. Name of Institution/Library: University of South Australia Library

  • Use of the Standards: The content, performance outcomes and measurement of our interactive Information Search Methods tutorial were based on the performance indicators and outcomes of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The tutorial incorporates Standards 1, 2, 3 and 5.
  • Results/Benefits: The standards enabled the team to build quality control mechanisms into the development of the tutorial by creating learning and instructional design criteria.
  • For more information: Carole Gibbs ( or Sherron Hunter ( and

2. Name Institution/Library: University of Queensland Library, Brisbane, Australia

  • Use of the Standards: The University of Queensland's Academic Board endorsed the ACRL Information Literacy Standards as the basis for the acquisition of the graduate attribute area of Information management. The Information Skills working party of the Library Committee of the Academic Board has since been looking at how these (an Australasian adaptation of them) can be used in providing a university wide policy framework for the integration of information management competencies into courses and curriculum. They are being used to stimulate discussion across the curriculum.
  • Results/Benefits: The response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. All perceive the standards as extremely useful in not only making explicit what all effective teaching and learning should be but taking the role of the library as partner in learning from a limited dialogue out into the wider university teaching and learning environment.
  • For more information: Ms Louise Rodger, Acting Coordinator, Information Skills and Community Outreach,

3. Name of Institution/Program: STP (Society for the Teaching of Psychology) Task Force on Information Literacy Standards [STP is Division 2 of the American Psychological Association]

  • Use of Standards: The Task Force is in the process of using the ACRL standards as the basis for the formulation of information literacy competency standards in psychology; identifying/developing and disseminating related active learning exercises as well as suggestions for their implementation and assessment of outcomes.
  • Results/Benefits: In process. Goal is the improvement of library instruction in psychology across levels of education.
  • For more information: Miriam E. Joseph, Reference Librarian--Task Force Chair, Saint Louis University,

4. Name of Institution/Program: The University of Rhode Island

  • Use of Standards: The University of Rhode Island has used the Standards to develop its multi-year incremental Information Literacy Plan. The Plan addresses the information and research needs of the entire University community by offering a combination of credit-bearing courses, information literacy modules designed for specific discipline and faculty workshops.
  • Results/Benefits: Using the Standards as a guide we have developed and currently teach two credit-bearing courses; LIB140: Special Topics in Information Literacy (1 credit) and LIB120: Introduction to Information Literacy (3 credits). Anecdotal reactions to our credit courses from students who have taken them have been very positive. Through collaborations with several academic departments we are developing our model for subject-specific information literacy modules.
  • For more information: Mary C. MacDonald, Reference/Information Literacy Librarian, and

5. Name of Institution/Program: DePaul University

  • Use of Standards: As a member of the Task Force charged with the revision of ACRL-IS’s Model Statement of Objectives, we have used the Standards for Information Literacy Competencies in Higher Education as the basis for our work.
  • Results/Benefits: The “ Objectives for Information Literacy Instruction by Academic Librarians” (Jan. 2001) has been approved.

6. Name of Institution/Program: State of Washington’s Information Literacy Assessment Group

  • Use of Standards: The six public baccalaureate institutions in the State of Washington have formed the Information Literacy Assessment Group (ILAG). This group has been charged by the state legislature with the assessment of information and technology literacy at the under- graduate level (House Bill 2375). ILAG is using the Information Competency Standards for Higher Education to design and carry out the assessment.
  • Results/Benefits: In process. ILAG will: 1) define information and technology literacy; 2) develop strategies and standards of measurement; and 3) determine the feasibility (including cost) of implementing an assessment program at the six institutions.
  • For more information: [project no longer active - June 2011]

7. Name of Institution/Program: Gustavus Adolphus College

  • Use of Standards: The standards have helped the librarians at Gustavus Adolphus college see that working collaboratively needs to go much further than tailoring a session to a course. We have used the standards with faculty across the disciplines to start the conversation about instructing students in the complete information research process.
  • Results/Benefits: We have moved from a library-centered program to one we hope will be owned by the faculty. So far we've had 14 faculty redesign courses with an aim to intentionally embed research processes into them. We'll work with another 17 this coming summer.
  • For more information: Barbara Fister , and the project's home page at

8. Name of Institution/Program: University of Louisville in Kentucky

9. Name of Institution/Program: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  • Use of Standards: As a result of the Assistant Director for Constituent Services and Special Programs, Oswald Ratteray’s, membership on the ACRL Task Force that drafted the Standards, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education draft of its new standards for accreditation contains a section that reflects the substance of the IL Competency Standards for Higher Education.

10. Name of Institution/Program: University of Montevallo

  • Use of Standards: The Standards were used by the Faculty Library Committee as the basis of doing a needs assessment of the faculty. Faculty were asked to evaluate their students’ proficiency in a number of information literacy competencies drawn from the standards.
  • Results/Benefits: Meeting with every department to discuss the results of the needs assessment and next steps.
  • For more information: Rosemary H. Arneson, Director, Carmichael Library,

11. Name of Institution/Program: Tacoma Community College Library

  • Use of Standards: A faculty-librarian committee used the Standards as a basis for creating a grid with competencies and performance objectives.
  • Results/Benefits: Faculty/librarian partnering was strengthened during the assessment of information literacy process. Portions of the Standards are now embedded in the Nursing curriculum and many faculty are currently adding Student Learning Outcomes to their syllabi, so expect interest in the Standards to generate even more faculty /librarian partnering during the next academic year.
  • For more information: Kendall Reid, or Becky Sproat, Head Librarian, and

12. Name of Institution/Program: Purdue University Libraries

  • Use of Standards: The Standards have been used as the basis for a five-part professional development series for the instruction librarians, "Working With the New ACRL Standards for Information Literacy"
  • Results/Benefits: The Purdue University instruction librarians attended the workshops and improved their abilities to develop goals, objectives and outcomes; create lesson plans; share collaborative learning techniques; and design some student assessments.
  • Contact for more information: Alexius Smith Macklin, User Instruction Librarian, URL:

13. Name of Institution/Program: Alliant International University, Ed.D. dissertation

  • Use of Standards: As part of an Ed.D. dissertation titled, "Stakeholders' Perceptions of the Importance of Information Competencies Within Undergraduate Education," I assessed undergraduate students, faculty members, and administrators' perceptions about the importance of teaching and learning the skills needed to find, use, and evaluate information effectively and efficiently. In consultation with information literacy experts, I implemented a survey and interview at "Private University" (pseudonym) that focuses on the Performance Indicators and Outcomes expected in Standard Two: "The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently."
  • Results/Benefits: Ten findings emerged: (1) students’ first choice for research was the Internet/WWW; (2) no formal plan existed to teach these skills at "Private University;" (3) stakeholder groups’ perceptions differed regarding technology; (4) confusion existed between understanding the meaning of information literacy and computer literacy; (5) librarians were an untapped resource; (6) students lacked knowledge about performing effective online searches; (7) many faculty did not assess students’ references; (8) faculty requirements impacted students’ choice of references; (9) students and administrators provided more feedback than faculty; and (10) stakeholder collaboration was needed.The stakeholders’ levels of concern about information literacy competencies varied from a low level of concern to active collaboration. An action plan to implement this construct was suggested and is currently being reviewed at "Private University." From the researcher’s perspective, the objectives should be to (1) develop a formal information literacy action plan; (2) promote an understanding of the differences between information literacy and computer literacy; (3) increase the use of research databases and decrease the use of the Internet/WWW; and (4) mandate faculty/librarian collaboration regarding these objectives. These actions should lead toward collaborative teaching and learning among all of the stakeholder groups.