Where should our information literacy standards come from?
From the ACRL? Or from the disciplinary organizations?
The ACRL Information Literacy standards have often frustrated me. I struggle to find their usefulness to my day-to-day work, since the content of most of my information literacy sessions comes from conversations with the professor of the class, and are geared directly to student assignments. As such, use of the standards usually involves fitting what I’m already doing back into the structure of the standards. And because the standards are meant to apply to all disciplines, they suffer from being both too vague and too specific at the same time.
I also don’t find them very useful when it comes to convincing faculty members that their students need to learn information literacy skills.
First, the faculty members might actually care about them. Let’s be honest, when was the last time a faculty member was concerned about their students meeting the standards set out by the ACRL? They are busy enough trying to meet their own standards and goals.
Secondly, because the disciplinary standards have been developed by faculty in the disciplines, they are more likely to align with the skills needed in those particular disciplines. They are more likely to provide practical guidance about what to teach students, how papers and projects can be geared to meet the standards, and how this can be assessed.
Oh, and the disciplinary standards are typically shorter.
Am I abandoning the ACRL standards completely? Probably not. But I would encourage librarians to make sure they are aware of any education related standards and outcomes set forth by disciplines they work with. It might be useful.