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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.


Join the Joint Chiefs for an ALSC Student Session Webinar!

We the Joint Chiefs of the Storytime Underground are super excited to share that we’ll be presenting a webinar this month! The March 25 webinar will be a part of the ALSC Student Sessions, which means the webinar is FREE. All you have to do is register.

Cory, Kendra, and I will be talking about that conversation-provoking topic, creating your own personal learning network (PLN) and then making it work for you. You may remember the OUTSTANDING series of guest posts about PLNs that we had here on the blog in January (if not, go check them out ASAP!). This ALSC Student Session will include the PLN stories of the Storytime Underground founders, and we’ll be sharing a variety of strategies for building and maintaining PLNs; using PLNs to meet and collaborate with colleagues; and approaching the PLN through the lens of professional development.

Check out the full, official details for the webcast below, straight from the ALSC website. We hope you’ll join us!

Create a Personal Learning Network That Works For You

Join the Joint Chiefs of the Storytime Underground, an online community for youth services librarians, as we discuss how you can use social media to create your personal learning network, or PLN. We will explore how your PLN can help you meet and collaborate with others in the field as you take charge of your career and professional development.

Who Should Attend

This webinar is open to all students, ALSC members, non-members and anyone with an interest in a career in children’s services.

Course Level & Prerequisites

No specific course level nor prequisities are required for this course.


Cory Eckert is a Librarian III with the Houston (TX) Public Library. She also serves on the ALSC Quicklists Consulting Committee, the LLAMA Membership Committee, the YALSA State Association Outreach Committee, and the YALSA State Conferences Road Trip Task Force.

Kendra Jones is a Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Community Library, part of the Fort Vancouver (WA) Regional Library District. She also serves on the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.

Amy Koester is the Children’s Librarian at the Corporate Parkway Branch Library of the St. Charles (MO) City-County Library District. She served on the ALSC 2014 (John) Newbery Award Committee.

Date(s) & Time(s)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
7 PM Eastern
6 PM Central
5 PM Mountain
4 PM Pacific

Credits &/or CEUs Heading

College credit nor CEU’s are available for ALSC Student Sessions at this time.


Student sessions are offered free of charge.

Technical Requirements

To take part you must have a computer, Internet access, web browser, and a copy of Flash® Player 8 or higher. You can download a free copy of Flash® Player from the Adobe website if you do not already have it.

For more information, view a video about Abode Connect meetings produced Adobe.

How to Register

To sign up for this webinar, please fill out the registration form. Registration is free. Participants must register before Monday, March 24 at 4pm Central.

A few days before the event, registrants will receive an email with a direct link to the forum. For more information, please see the contact information below.


Dan Bostrom
ALSC Membership/Marketing Manager
(800) 545-2433 ext 2164
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