Vol. 3 No. 1 (2018)

Failing forward

Dan Moore
Oregon State University
Elizabeth Price
James Madison University
Published December 21, 2020
  • Failure (psychology),
  • academic librarians,
  • failing forward,
  • tenure systems
How to Cite
Moore, D., & Price, E. (2020). Failing forward. Journal of New Librarianship, 3(1), 16-23. https://doi.org/10.21173/newlibs/4/4


Libraries and the tenure process are hard to navigate and even harder to change. Early career academic librarians often are encouraged to play it safe in our teaching, scholarship, and service while on the tenure track. But curiosity is the driving engine of innovation and of providing new and exciting services to your users. Curiosity frequently demands taking risks, and failure is a natural byproduct of risks. Hopelessness stemming from professional failures -- or even the fear of possible failure -- can be demoralizing during our probationary periods and negatively impact our users and ourselves. Librarians need to learn how to fail forward in order to engage in creative risk-taking and become more comfortable sharing failures with others to expand our professional opportunities. In this column, the authors discuss realities of failure in the academic library setting and offer solutions for coping with the fear of failure.