May 16, 2022

New Journal Article: “Fail Early and Often to Succeed: The Case for Rapid Prototyping in Libraries”

The following article appears in the latest issue of Library Leadership & Management.


Fail Early and Often to Succeed: The Case for Rapid Prototyping in Libraries


John J. Meier
Penn State University Libraries

Rebecca K. Miller
Penn State University Libraries


Library Leadership & Management.
Vol 33, No 1 (2018)


At Penn State University Libraries, we are endeavoring to support a library and user community in a state of flux by moving from a culture of rigidity to one of flexibility. Changes to Penn State University Libraries’ organizational structures and strategic priorities have been swift and ongoing. In some contexts, we are using rapid prototyping practices to respond with agility to these changes, as well as to the changing needs of our faculty, staff, student, and community users. This article describes the general rapid prototyping approach, showcases the concept in use by a library’s teaching and learning department, and uses a case study to illustrate how these practices can be applied to a specific learning object. We also suggest applications in other, more systemic, areas of organizational work. Key takeaways include encouraging a culture of experimentation, being open to failure, and keeping lines of communication open to strengthen collaboration.

Direct to Full Text Article (19 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.