Brief Summary

This poster highlights an internal professional development activity that introduced the concept of developing a growth mindset within the library. By facilitating a flipped lesson and an active learning activity, we encouraged our organization to develop a shared strategy for working through challenges, dealing with setbacks and viewing failures positively.

Type of Library

University Library


growth mindset, fixed mindset, library management


May 4th, 2:30 PM May 4th, 3:15 PM

Mindset Matters: Developing a Growth Mindset to Reframe Failure in Libraries

Floor 2

The theory of the growth mindset was first described by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck and is an emerging concept within the field of education. It is now also being applied to business theory. Those with a growth mindset hold the belief that intelligence can be developed, leading to a desire to learn and a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setback, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in other’s successes. As a result, they continually reach higher levels of achievement and a greater sense of free will. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset hold the belief that intelligence is static, leading to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to avoid challenges, give up easily, see effort as fruitless, ignore useful (but negative) feedback, and feel threatened by the success of others. As a result of this deterministic view, they may plateau early and not achieve their full potential. This poster highlights a successful internal professional development activity that introduced the concept of developing a growth mindset within the library. The program was created and facilitated through a collaboration between a librarian and a library administrator and used a combination of a flipped lesson plan and active learning.

The application of the growth mindset in library management is new, and the presenters felt that exploring the differences between the growth and fixed mindsets would be useful to our organization, which was in a significant state of change. Our goal was to provide a useful model to our colleagues which could help them to understand that change is a process and in doing so, help them to be more understanding of each other as we learn and grow as an organization.

Furthermore, the growth mindset has application to the conference theme because it provides a model that can help libraries not to be ashamed of challenges, setbacks and failures but to use them as learning opportunities. A key attribute of those who hold a growth mindset is the ability to view failure honestly and as a challenge to strive forward. By changing the way our library thinks about setbacks, we hope to encourage risk taking, open communication, and the delivery and reception of constructive criticism.

The poster will help attendees to:

  1. Understand the differences between the growth and fixed mindsets
  2. Learn the benefits of developing a growth mindset
  3. Plan a simple, practical way to introduce the growth mindset to their organization.


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