PLNs=Connections=Collaboration=Happy Teacher Librarians

Once again, I am always amazed at coincidences that happen from day to day.  In the final module for the professional development course I am facilitating this semester at UVM, we are focusing on literacy leadership and advocacy.  Part of the required reading and discussion has centered on developing PLNs for professional practice.  For teacher librarians in the field, PLNs are critical for keeping current and for communication and collaboration, and they also provide opportunities for advocacy.

Personal Learning Networks are lifelines for staying connected in this wild Web 2.0 world.  Establishing a PLN enhances professional development, lifelong learning, and opportunities for collaboration, locally, nationally, and globally.  It’s especially important for those of us in the profession who are sole practitioners in a building, or even serving multiple schools in a whole district. A PLN has potential as a support system for anyone who wants to reach out and converse and collaborate with other folks who have similar interests and challenges, and may have different views to share.

Getting back to the coincidence I mentioned, as I was polishing off the module and preparing to post it to the Blackboard site, the mailman delivered the November/December 2012 issue of Knowledge Quest. To my very pleasant surprise, the theme for the issue was “Personal Learning Networks.”  I quickly added it as a resource for the module, and what a resource it is!

Not only does the print issue offer a range of articles that cover a variety of possible advantages of using PLNs in professional practice, but the links on the AASL website provide lots of other resources to explore.  If you are a member of AASL (another reason to join), you have access to the print and online editions of the publication, support materials, webinars, and social networking sites.  If you don’t belong, you can still have access to many of the resources online.

To get started here are some recommended highlights from the Knowledge Quest website:

  • Table of Contents: Check out the awesome articles in the print edition. There is a direct link for AASL members for the online edition, or if you have access to online databases through your school or public library, you can find KQ articles indexed in several of them.  They are a gold mine.
  • KQ Webinar-coming soon: “Making the Most of Professional Learning Communities” Tuesday December 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM EST.
  • 30 Second Thought Leadership: Jennifer LaGarde and Liza Perez. “What makes personal learning networks critical for professional development?”

And coincidentally, if you have not jumped in and set up a site for curating your favorite websites, blogs, nings, twitter and rss feeds, and so on, as Jennifer LaGarde says, “What are you waiting for?”



“Personal Learning Networks”, American Library Association, November 14, 2012. (Accessed November 25, 2012)

“30 Second Thought Leadership”, American Library Association, February 21, 2012. (Accessed November 25, 2012)




2 thoughts on “PLNs=Connections=Collaboration=Happy Teacher Librarians

  1. I second your thoughts on how important it is for school librarians to develop a PLN and also stress this to my students! I remember being a first year school librarian in a rural county in Georgia and having nowhere to turn for support, questions, help, and ideas. I truly feel if it had not been for LM_NET and AASL I would have never survived that first year. Back then that was the extent of my PLN, but now there are so many other options and ways to stay connected! I truly believe this is an essential element for all school librarians and especially those new to the profession.

  2. I am really hooked on Livebinders as an organizational tool. When I am preparing resources for a course, I have my Livebinder It ready to go. What I like is the ability to continue to develop/revise my ideas and tabs as I go along. The other plus is the folks who have shared their binders. I have discovered the power of collaboration through shared work on many sites such as Pinterest, and Scoopit!, to name a couple. It’s pretty cool to be in the flow!

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