Values: the invisible “ante” in information literacy learning?

Benjamin R. Harris (Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 14 November 2008



The ACRL Competency Standards related to learners' values and value systems has not been interrogated in relation to information literacy theory or practice. This paper aims to analyze the inclusion of values in these and other guidelines and seeks evidence of the development of this topic in the literature.


A comparative review of information literacy standards related to values/value systems was conducted. An analysis of the literature engaging issues related to personal or community values related to information was completed. Suggestions for continued work were based on these findings.


Competency standards related to values/value systems are out of place in guidelines designed to assist in the assessment of information literacy instruction. Instead, it is more likely that information literacy development is a form of values education.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to locate specific personal and community values related to information literacy. This research should begin with information‐related values of student communities, professional organizations and other groups.

Practical implications

Readers will develop a greater understanding of professional and personal values in relation to information literacy and the standards designed to help librarians and others.


This paper establishes a basis for a comparative analysis of information literacy standards drafted by different groups. The discussion on the place and purpose of values‐related objectives in the 2000 ACRL Competency Standards and a review of the literature on this topic are unique to this paper.



Harris, B. (2008), "Values: the invisible “ante” in information literacy learning?", Reference Services Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 424-437.

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