ALSC Student Session Recap: Create a Personal Learning Network that Works for You

giphyTonight, we the Joint Chiefs of the Storytime Underground led an ALSC Student Session webinar on the topic of PLNs–that’s “personal learning networks.” We talked what PLNs are to different librarians; reasons you may want a PLN, and how to use it; and strategies for creating your PLN.

Throughout the course of the webinar, we shared a number of great, highly-recommended resources, which we want to link for posterity here. We also fielded some questions from participants, and we want to expand on those questions and our responses.


Storytime Underground:

Flannel Friday:

Thrive Thursday:

Tips from Stellar Members of our PLNs:

Storytime Underground Joint Chiefs on Twitter:

Twitter Chats to Check Out:

  • #alscchat – 2nd Thursday of the month at 9 p.m. EST
  • #txlchat
  • #libchat
  • #saturdaylibrarian – Not a formal chat
  • #eveninglibrarian – Not a formal chat

Listservs to Consider:


Questions (& Answers)

Q: How much time do you spend on your PLN?

Cory: If you count every interaction, from texting Kendra and Amy pictures of TMNT crap at Walmart to commenting on blogs of people I don’t know yet, and all the checking-the-SU-Facebook-page in between, it probably ends up being about 3 hours a day, but that’s because I really enjoy it. 3 hours/day is NOT necessary!

Kendra: Personally, I probably spend about 3-4 hours a day all told. I’m not sitting at a computer for that chunk of time actively developing my PLN. All the 5 minutes interactions probably add up to several hours each day. Like Amy, that can vary week to week. If I’m busy with family and work (most my PLN building is done outside of paid work time) then I’m pretty quiet on Twitter, Facebook and my blog. But am likely venting like crazy to my closer knit PLN.

Amy: It varies. Sometimes I’ll go for a whole week only spending a few minutes on Twitter, and other weeks I’ll spend several hours. It depends on how busy I am and how into the topics of conversation I’m feeling.

Q: My library won’t let staff on Facebook at work. How do I PLN?

Amy: By all means, follow the rules of your institution until you get permission to do otherwise. Decide whether other forums of interaction–Twitter, blogs, etc.–are a reasonable alternative to Facebook for you. Also decide whether you’re willing to put non-work time into your PLN, in which case you can Facebook from home. (That’s what I do; I don’t do Facebook from work, so only check it at home.)

Cory: Additionally, this might be a good time to join a listserv or two!

Q: How do you turn your digital PLN into a real life PLN?

Cory: I think digital life is real life! But certainly there are ways to expand your PLN so it has more face to face interaction. One way, as Julie suggested in her PLN guest post for us, was to make connections with local librarians and hang out with them in person. Another tool we at SU use a lot is Google Hangouts (see also, Skype, FaceTime). Sometimes, you just need to see your friends faces, and face-to-face allows for a openness to the creative process that is excellent for collaboration.

Kendra: Several of my twitter friends do a holiday card exchange each year and it’s a lot of fun to get a personalized greeting from someone you’ve possibly never met in real life. Host a Guerrilla Storytime in a local pub, coffee shop, your backyard, whatever. Some librarians in my area were inspired by the Guerrilla Storytime idea so planned a meetup in a local pub to swap storytime ideas, meet new people, etc.

Q: Will there be a Guerrilla Storytime at ALA Annual in Las Vegas?

Um, are the Ninja Turtles awesome? OF COURSE THERE WILL BE GUERRILLA STORYTIME IN VEGAS! See you there (or here on the website for the full recap).


If you have questions after watching the archived webinar, or after reading this post, share them in the comments and we’ll address them!

Thanks so much to everyone who attended the webinar, and to ALSC and Dan Bostrom for having us. We hope you’re feeling empowered to make a PLN that works for you.


About Amy Koester

I'm a youth services librarian with a penchant for exciting ideas and engaging programs. It's a sure bet that if you talk to me about STEAM, whimsy, and trying new things, we'll be best friends forever.

Posted on March 25, 2014, in Professional Development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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