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Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Call for Feedback: ACRL Visual Literacy Task Force’s Draft of The Framework for Visual Literacy (Deadline Wed., July 7)

(via Dana Thompson, Murray State University)

The ACRL Visual Literacy Task Force is currently seeking feedback on The Framework for Visual Literacy. We are asking you to consider how you might use this document. We would also like to understand how it could be improved to better align with your needs. We thank you in advance for your input to ensure this document is thoughtful and useful.

Please access the document here. Please provide feedback by using this link.


In 2009, a group of librarians interested in quality research and instructional image content formed the Image Resources Interest Group within the Association of College & Research Libraries to focus on the particular affordances and challenges of visual information. That same year, the inaugural Visual Literacy Task Force was formed to craft a set of standards that would complement the now rescinded the 2001 ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The resultant standards, the 2011 Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, highlighted ways in which visuals are distinct from other information types.

In the years following the publication of the Visual Literacy Standards, librarians began to engage with threshold concepts, metacognition, and metaliteracies, reflected in the 2016 ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, which replaced the Information Literacy Standards. Ongoing critical conversation continues to shape how learners are taught to create, use, share, and assess information in the twenty-first century. Addressing these shifts, ACRL assembled several task forces in 2018 to develop Framework Companion Documents and update disciplinary literacy standards documents. In this spirit, the current Visual Literacy Task Force was formed by the Image Resources Interest Group to update the 2011 Visual Literacy Standards.

At the outset, we acknowledged that visual literacy and related terminology remained difficult to define due to variations in use and meaning across disciplines. We also recognized that mapping to the Framework would be a challenging exercise. Success would require the participation of thoughtfully engaged stakeholders. Therefore, we began by conducting an IRB-approved qualitative research study. From fall 2019 to spring 2021, we interviewed a broad community of practitioners and scholars, including architecture and planning librarians. Participants were asked to define visual literacy, identify necessary skills and competencies for their discipline, and discuss what they perceived as challenges and opportunities.

By coding the interviews, we identified four themes that serve as the backbone for the current Visual Literacy Framework Companion Document draft. These themes are listed below.

  • perceive visuals as communicating information;
  • participate in a changing information landscape;
  • practice visual discernment and criticality; and
  • pursue social justice through visual practice.


Please return the survey by Wednesday, July 7.

If you have any questions, please contact us at vltfacrl@gmail.com.

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