ACRL/RBMS, SAA Release Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy

July 9, 2018—The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) have developed a new standard, Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy.

These guidelines articulate the range of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to effectively use primary sources. While the primary audience for this document is librarians, archivists, teaching faculty, and others working with college and university students, the guidelines have been written to be sufficiently flexible for use in K-12 and in general public settings as well. The guidelines articulate crucial skills for navigating the complexity of primary sources and codify best practices for utilizing these materials. 

Authored by the SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on Primary Source Literacy, the new document was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors in February 2018 and by the SAA Council in June 2018. The Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy are available on the ACRL website and the SAA Standards Portal.


About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 10,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the web at, Facebook at, and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About SAA

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America's oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally. Visit us on the web at, or find us on Facebook, Twitter (@archivists_org), or Instagram (saarchivists).