The Contested One-Shot: Deconstructing Power Structures to Imagine New Futures

Nicole Pagowsky


For so long the one-shot has been the dominating force of how we engage in library instruction. There is a lot of meaning and debate saturated in this faux-innocuous activity, yet there is not always consensus as to how we define a one-shot. Is it doing a library “spiel” to demo a database, present the library website, or give a tour? Is it visiting a class once without an explicit connection to an assignment? Is it even embedding a learning object in a class without assessment feedback or other interaction? To have a central, salient definition of the one-shot for the purpose of this editorial, I view it as a standalone session, superficially (or not at all) connected to course content, that is tacked onto a class. Within a curriculum, the one-shot has no memory of where information literacy has been and no vision of where it is going. It is ephemeral within cycles of ineffectiveness. I am writing this guest editorial to talk this through and share my thoughts, and then invite you to share yours in a special issue of C&RL on the contested one-shot (see the Call for Proposals at the end). We do not need consensus but sharing different perspectives and exploring what “effective” teaching means is important to support our instruction programs. This guest editorial will discuss one-shots in the context of effective teaching practices; assessment; and power structures related to care-work and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). The hope is to expand our pedagogical imagination through questioning what appear to be common-sense practices in order to create better systems and structures.

Full Text:

Copyright Nicole Pagowsky*

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Article Views (Last 12 Months)

No data available

Contact ACRL for article usage statistics from 2010-April 2017.

Article Views (By Year/Month)

January: 177
February: 171
March: 198
April: 95
May: 193
June: 305
July: 104
August: 97
September: 69
January: 362
February: 151
March: 149
April: 117
May: 105
June: 215
July: 214
August: 296
September: 351
October: 233
November: 203
December: 123
January: 0
February: 0
March: 0
April: 637
May: 2390
June: 1199
July: 483
August: 214
September: 285
October: 188
November: 215
December: 201