In 2004, a group of librarians got together to form a PLN. We didn’t call it that at the time, as the term has been a recent development. What is interesting about this group of librarians is that we are all working in different types of libraries.
Our organization is called the Azalea Coast Library Association. It covers several counties and its membership is made up of academic, public, school, medical, and law librarians, we even have a librarian from the Corps of Engineers in our group. You might think that it is an odd assortment to put together and may wonder what would we have in common.
The surprising thing is that we have a lot in common when it comes to serving our patrons and developing collections to meet their needs. We do have different concerns and issues that pertain only to our own situations. The interesting thing is that an outside viewpoint may help you solve a concern in a way you hadn’t thought about before. The really great thing about our group is that at each meeting we share ideas, relate what we are working on, new resources that we have and events that are taking place in our libraries.
In a way, I feel that the school librarians have benefitted the most from this group. There have been a number of times when discussing something that we would like to do with our students that the librarians at the other institutions have come up with resources that are especially helpful for us.
We meet four times a year, in a different library each time. We have had lunch get-togethers and even a few bowling nights just for fun. Our next meeting is going to be in October at my school. It will be the week after our North Carolina School Library Media Association conference and also the North Carolina Library Association conference. The plan is to share what everyone has learned at these two conferences.
We are embarking on a first for us this year. We have decided to organize a one day professional development conference for this coming April. Our conference committee met a couple of weeks ago which is why I thought about sharing our group with you. We are working on session ideas and guest speakers that will address both our common and diverse needs and interests.
So my suggestion is to think outside of your regular sphere when developing or joining a PLN. Mine is with a variety of librarians but you might also consider people in other fields. The more varied discussions you have the more you professionally grow. Have any of you joined a group such as this?
Author: Joann Absi
I am the media coordinator at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, NC. I have had positions at elementary, middle and high school libraries during my career. I am a past president of NCSLMA. Currently I am serving as the Communications Chair for NCSLMA and a member of AASL/ALSC/YALSA School/Public Library Cooperation.