Information Competency
History and Guidance


A Brief History

Excerpted from Information Competency: Challenges and Strategies for Development. (2002). Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

  • In Fall 1996, the ASCCC plenary body adopted the following resolution. “[R]esolved that the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges urge the Chancellor’s Office and the Board of Governors to acknowledge that any development of information competency components and/or programs be the primary responsibility of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.”
  • At the 2001 Spring Plenary Session, delegates approved Resolution 9.01 S01 calling for the ASCCC to recommend to the Board of Governors (BOG) that “information competency be a locally designated graduation requirement for degree and Chancellor’s Office-approved certificate programs,” and to encourage the BOG “to provide resources for implementation and appropriate faculty development activities.”
  • Before the BOG could vote on the revised Title 5 language that would articulate the graduation requirement, the California Department of Finance announced that a college’s or district’s reexamination of its graduation requirement was an “unfunded mandate” and that the Board could not move forward with their scheduled vote.
  • Irrespective of the Department of Finance ruling, the ASCCC urges local senates, as they determine essential to their student’s education, to make recommendations to their local governing boards regarding local graduation requirements.
  • Long Beach City College is one of twenty-one California community colleges that has adhered to the ASCCC’s vision and guidance and has implemented a graduation requirement for information competency.

Statewide Guidance

Information Competency is directly related to the library community and has been organized and supported by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges; the Council of Chief Librarians; the California Association of College & Research Universities (CARL).

In their 2010 publication, Standards of Practice for California Community College Library Faculty and Programs, the ASCCC notes that,

“library faculty should offer various forms of information literacy and competency instruction within the library science discipline. This instruction should be developed, delivered, and evaluated by library faculty. Information literacy and competency credit courses should be developed through the college’s regular curriculum process…

Library faculty should design their information literacy and competency instruction to meet the needs of students at all levels within their colleges from basic skills to honors students and all groups in-between” (p.3).

Nationwide Guidance

ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education

Librarians find guidance from the American Library Association (ALA) and the ALA’s division called the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). These organizations study and publish the frameworks for how information literacy should play out in higher education.

The Framework replaces the older, Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The Standards were rescinded by the ACRL Board of Directors at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference, which means they are no longer in force. The current AD/GE application for courses that satisfy Information Competency are based on these rescinded standards.

The new Framework is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions. The six concepts that anchor the frames are presented alphabetically:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

The new Framework’s knowledge practices and dispositions can be used to guide faculty as they complete the proposed application. They can also be used in the proposed rubric that AD/GE subcommittee members can utilize when evaluating whether a course/program sufficiently teaches aspects of information competency.