Marketing Libraries Journal (MLJ) Logo

Leveraging Failure to Inform Practice: How do Students Learn about Library Events and Services?

Jylisa Doney, Assistant Professor & Social Sciences Librarian University of Idaho

Jessica Martinez Assistant Professor & Science Librarian University of Idaho

Marketing Libraries Journal, volume 3, issue 2, pages 43-63

Download PDF

Is it possible for librarians and librarianship to learn from research projects that do not meet expectations or fail outright? This article answers with a resounding “yes” and uses the authors’ experiences developing a “failed” research project to demonstrate how failure can inform practice in valuable ways. The failed project discussed in this article grew out of a desire to understand how students learn about library and university events and services: Are libraries’ attempts to engage with students on the platforms they use effective? To examine this question, the authors used several mechanisms to distribute a survey to students enrolled at the University of Idaho. This effort resulted in a survey response rate of only 0.45 percent of enrolled students. As disheartening as this statistically insignificant response rate was—and recognizing that it is impossible to generalize from such a poor response rate—the authors determined that they could still learn from and leverage the perspectives of a mere 53 student respondents without much risk. This article will share the arc of their research study and detail how they made the best of a failed project by incorporating the new marketing and outreach strategies suggested by students into library social media and outreach practices.

Citation to article:

Doney, J., & Martinez, J. (2019). Leveraging Failure to Inform Practice: How do Students Learn about Library Events and Services? Marketing Libraries Journal, 3(2), 43-63. Retrieved from


Marketing Libraries Journal

Call for Papers
Author Guidelines

Marketing Libraries Journal, 2019

Home | About  | Call for Papers | Author Guidelines | Archives | Contact Us

ISSN: 2475-8116