Translating Failure into Success


  • Deana Brown Boise State University
  • Elizabeth Ramsey Boise State University


failure, academic libraries, leaders


Failure plays a key part in our professional and personal development, but traditionally many of us have been inclined to sweep our failures under the rug. Librarian and blogger Steven Bell posits that perhaps we are embarrassed at our failures, instead of recognizing that sharing our blunders can be an opportunity to celebrate our creativity (2010). Some brave souls are doing just that, such as the librarians who are sharing their failures
through Twitter, using the hashtag #libraryfail. An enormously popular website has grown through shared failures, CakeWrecks( And a meme has been making the rounds on the internet for some time, titled “Nailed It,” in which people contrast their failed attempts at craft or  baking projects with the original perfect creation.

Author Biographies

Deana Brown, Boise State University

Deana Brown is an Assistant Professor and Librarian in the Web and Emerging Technologies
unit at Boise State University. She liaises with the philosophy and sociology departments and is
active in working groups related to her research interests in user experience, space needs, 3D
printing, and other emerging technologies. Her interest in emerging technologies has led to her
becoming a faculty advisor to the Creative Technologies Association student group and a member
of the Idaho Commission for Libraries’ Special Projects Library Action Team (SPLAT).

Elizabeth Ramsey, Boise State University

Elizabeth Ramsey is an Assistant Professor and Librarian with responsibilities in outreach and
social media at Boise State University’s Albertsons Library. She is also the liaison to programs in
the School of Public Services, as well as those serving the international student population. Her
research interests include cross-cultural awareness, the intersectionality of identities, and
issues related to diversity and inclusion.


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April 3, 2014.

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