We’re a month away from Strikethrough: The Utah Library Association Failure Workshop, and the final push to drum up your excitement and attendance is on!
Why Strikethrough? We’re all familiar with strikethrough formatting — the straight line drawn through text to indicate that the words have been removed (and often replaced). Employing strikethrough
instead of deleting the text altogether tells the reader an important story about the text — they can see the writer’s thought process, where it’s been, and what better solution the writer editor arrived at. At the Strikethrough failure workshop, we want to help attendees embrace the concept of using strikethrough in their everyday work.
The Strikethrough workshop was born from a
n offhanded comment in a preconference session at the 2015 Utah Library Association Annual Conference. Maureen Sullivan (Strikethrough’s keynote speaker) was leading the session, and it came up that presenters at conferences seem to be perfect, telling the audience about all their great successes with no missteps, mistakes, or failures included along the way. But we all know that there were probably dozens of mistakes along their journey that they just aren’t sharing with us. The offhanded comment: “We could probably fill a whole conference just talking about those failures.” By the time the preconference was over, Salt Lake City Public Library Executive Director John Spears and Utah Library Association President Dustin Fife were starting to pull together a committee to make that workshop a reality.
Strikethrough is our first draft at addressing this concept for Utah’s librarians. We will explore how failure works across a variety of disciplines, including medical research and performance art, as well as librarianship. We want to understand what makes failure so scary and how we can overcome our fear of it. How do we make failure part of our processes? What do we miss out on when we do everything in our power to avoid failure instead of doing everything we can to achieve great impact (even if we fail along the way)? How can we balance creating an organizational culture that values accountability, but also allows people to make mistakes or fail?
Join us in February to explore these questions, ask more questions, and maybe even get an answer or two!