vol. 26 no. 2, June, 2021

Book Reviews

Julien, Heidi, Gross, Melissa and Latham, Don (eds.). The information literacy framework: case studies of successful implementation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2020. xviii, 278 p. ISBN 978-1-5381-2143-6. £87.00

Information literacy as a lifelong skill has an important role in people’s lives in the new complicated telecommunication era. Since the Association of College & Research Libraries has published guidelines, standards and frameworks for different groups such as librarians, journalism students, sociology students, nurses, etc., a number of papers (see, e.g., Foasberg, 2015; Saunders, 2017), have discussed the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This book is a further addition. In 2016, the ACRL Framework replaced the Information literacy competency standards for higher education and, at the beginning, librarians and information literacy educators were not inspired by it, as Rose explained on p. 65. Thus, the authors of the book have tried to demonstrate how they have worked with the Framework in their communities and to share their experiences with readers.

The book is divided into three parts: Part I. Preparing to use the framework has six chapters. In chapter one Strategies for mapping information literacy threshold concepts to course objectives in political science, Mohamed Berray explains the experiences of the Political Science Department at Florida State University applying threshold concepts through curriculum mapping (p. 3). It seems that helping faculty members to understand the process of integrating information literacy instruction into curriculum enhances students’ learning. In chapter two Faculty workshops: Incorporating the framework and embedding information literacy in undergraduate courses, Melissa Harden and Anna Michelle Martinez-Montavon seek to clarify the important effects of using the information literacy framework in the workshops for the faculty in several university. The participants have claimed better understanding of librarians as partners in instructional design and the importance of information literacy beyond database searching. In chapter three, Hendrigan, Makunda, and Cukierman try to develop an assessment methodology for two frames of the Framework, namely, 'Authority is constructed and contextual' and 'Scholarship as conversation'. They were exploring how students understand and manage their learning outcomes with the help of the Framework.

In chapter four, Pittman, Mars, and Brager revealed successful strategies for creating ongoing professional development opportunities and building communities of practice around the Framework. Leslie M. Ross used an action research plan to assess the existing IL-101 standards-based curriculum to identify conceptual blind spots that may have resulted from an uneven emphasis on learning outcomes in the learning process. In chapter six, an interesting idea about information literacy as a tool for marketing the faculty was expressed by a team led by Sarah Steele.

In part II, some case studies of instruction using the Framework in chapters 7 to 12 are discussed. For example, in chapter 7, Balci and Rich discuss teaching the Framework using an online tutorial. Bulging, in chapter 8, deals with designing a first-year foundation programme based on the Framework at the Colorado School of Mines (Mines). Chapter 9, by Calia-Lotz, discusses the relationship between information literacy and skills of writing composition and rhetoric at Harford Community College. Diamond and Wright in chapter 10, share the key experiences on applying the Framework in information literacy instruction at the West Virginia University. Context-based experiences in information literacy instruction are very important and noticeable in developing this area. In chapter 11, Kerr and Lewis reveal the relationship between the Framework and the context of the Caribbean culture in the University of the West Indies Mona Library. In chapter 12, Oldham as an academic librarian looks for pedagogical authority and creativity in the Framework. She describes how the Framework conflicted with her teaching style adopted before its implementation and how it shifted her understanding of information literacy teaching.

The third part of the book, entitled Educating for the framework starts with chapter 13, in which Baer emphasizes the importance of flexibility in the Framework. She believes that 'A perception of the Framework as rigid can result in frustration and a sense of paralysis, while an understanding of it as flexible is more likely to increase confidence, enthusiasm, and creativity for instruction planningä (p. 180). In chapter 14, the Chandler-Gilbert Community College reports experience of ongoing professional development programme related to information literacy. In chapter 15, Mackey deals with the issue of meta-literacy, which he describes as 'an empowering approach to learning that advances metacognitive reflection and prepares learners to be ethical and responsible producers of information in the participatory environment' (p.207). Mehra and Dali in chapter 16, review the experience of information literacy at The University of Tennessee. They explain a strategic literacy-based approach to diversity education and the way the University applies this approach. In chapter 17, Stoffle, Pagowsky, and Mery explain how to incorporate the Framework into information literacy teaching certificates at the University of Arizona. They are in particularly concerned with the teaching of future librarian educators using the Framework.

Rethinking the reference and instruction curriculum using the integrated threshold concept knowledge framework is the title of the final chapter in which Rathbun-Grubb overviews the threshold concepts and then offers a cohesive course plan in which students can experience the threshold concepts in the context of the library and information science (p. 245).

sThis is an easily comprehensible and readable text that, in addition to its subject matter, will attract readers. Some authors, such as Susan Rathbun-Grubb, concentrate their attention on the core subject of the book, i.e., threshold concepts (p. 246). Most of the chapters that describe the philosophical aspects of information literacy frameworks, contribute to the richness of the book. However, in spite of a suitable foreword and preface, the need for a final summary of the content at the end of the work is felt.

As the ACRL is an American association, it is obvious that its standards are implemented in American university and college libraries and the authors of the book are all American librarians and educators. Overall, the case studies of this book reveal that the seedling of the ACRL Framework is growing up in library and information science communities and especially between librarians and faculty members, but there is a deep need for promoting this Framework. It is noteworthy that this book provides some good practical strategies that could be implemented by librarians and faculty members, as Gina Calia-Lotz correctly points out The Framework can be used as a pedagogical tool to guide librarians and faculty instructors in scaffolding students’ acquisition of information literacy skills across various course levels and subject areas (p.126).


Rahman Marefat

Semnan University, Iran
May, 2021

How to cite this review

Marefat, R.. (2021). Review of: Julien, Heidi, Gross, Melissa and Latham, Don (eds.). The information literacy framework: case studies of successful implementation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. Information Research, 26(2), review no. R717 [Retrieved from http://www.informationr.net/ir/reviews/revs717.html]

Information Research is published four times a year by the University of Borås, Allégatan 1, 501 90 Borås, Sweden.