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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.

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This document was originally published in PNLA Quarterly by the Pacific Northwest Library Association. Copyright restrictions may apply.