Challenging the ACRL Framework

One of the Association of College & Research Libraries (2015) frames states that “authority is constructed and contextual.”  In other words, information literacy can challenge traditional authority.  Beilin (2015) challenges the authority of the ACRL Framework itself.

His chief critique is that the Framework doesn’t sufficiently challenge power structures and inequalities in existing information systems (Beilin, 2015, Information Literacy Instruction Is Also ABout Resistance section).  As Hanick and Townsend (2015) point out, though, how can learners challenge these structures without first understanding them?  I’ll add that learners may have other, more immediate, information needs.

Another critique is that the Framework is still too focused on the individual (Beilin, 2015, Information Literacy Instruction Is Also ABout Resistance section).  While social issues are important, they need not exclude the individual.

All the same I applaud Beilin for putting a principle into practice.   Such critique helps develop information literacy thought.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015).  Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website :

Beilin, I. (2015, February 25). Beyond the threshold: Conformity, resistance, and the ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education [Blog post].  Retrieved from

Hanick, S. L., & Townsend, L. (2015, November 17).  ACRL SLILC big picture theory and the practical classroom: Threshold concepts and information literacy instruction [Video file].  Retrieved from