MASL 2012

Tools to Build a School Librarian’s PLN

Workshop Description

What was I thinking? This has to be the most boring intro paragraph ever to describe a workshop!

This workshop's purpose is to connect school librarians with social media networking resources. The plethora of social networks can be overwhelming to a beginner who is just starting to build a PLN.
Participants will benefit by learning new ways to make connections for collaborating with other school librarians and educators. Building a PLN will give teacher librarians innovative ideas to share with their faculties and to become a school leader in professional development.

Really, come learn how to stitch your personal learning network together by piecing together Google Reader, Blogs, Twitter and Linkedin.  Need an app? Learn how to access social connections not only on your computer but on your cell phone and tablet. Check out Feedly and Flipboard plus other reader apps. Share all these professional development opportunities with your teachers and friends. How to find people to follow and encourage people to follow you is what stitches your PLN together. Try out LiveBinder, Diigo, Dropbox, and Evernote to share and collaborate with teachers.  Want to play with Pinterest for your personal research on food, gardening, and fashion....but school librarians are joining too with school library pins. Concerned about communication with students? We’ll talk about that issue also. Finally, be prepared to be an advocate for school librarians by sharing your story and joining in discussions with AASL and ISTE SIGMS in online webinars and ning forums.


Why connect with other school librarians? And teachers? And administrative types? plus all those other people out there like those political types?

Connections: Showing retiring teacher Pinterest for the fun she could have looking up gardens and food recipes - Searched for "library infographic" just to see what would pop up - Recognized that Boiling Springs High School from the Annual School Library Reports wiki - Fran Bullington's blog Informia was the link for the infographic - Discovered gold in her blog entry about using Piktochart to design a monthly report - She got the idea from Courtney Lewis, Director of Libraries at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in northeastern Pennsylvania by way of Twitter - The Sassy Librarian

Then, remembered Joyce Valenza had just blogged about making posters because sometimes you just need a paper poster - Block Posters

Result:  NHS Library Report for March posted on the school website and a paper copy to put on the bulletin board or at the sign-in clipboard in the library.

Directions for collecting the numbers for Northwest High School Library:

  1. Used Fran Bullington's Main Headings Use of Physical Space:
  2. Student sign-in's came from the daily clipboard sign-in sheets.  We managed to miss a day here and there, so I averaged the days for that week and added in that number.
  3. Before & after school does not require a sign-in, but we average 50 or more students at any one time before school.  They float in and out continually.  After school, there are just a handful who run in to check their emails before their bus arrives.
  4. Add the sets of numbers together to arrive at Total Number of Student Visits.
  5. Class Visits were counted up on the Library Schedule Calendar by totaling class periods from each day in March. 
  6. Divided out the teachers according to departments.
  7. Use of Resources was primarily completed using Follett Destiny Quest Reports.
  8. Total Student Circulation
  9. Total Staff Circulation
  10. Circulation by Dewey Decimal groupings.
  11. Total circulation report by length of time - month of March.
  12. Total Student circulation reported by grade level.  Piktochart has either a manual entry or an upload of .csv to make a data chart.  I just used manual entry, played with the different chart templates, and selected the pie chart with percentages by grade level.

Ideas and suggestions for other infographics include finding out each semester what the class enrollment is for teachers, maybe not requiring sign-in before school but make a point of counting heads at least once a week, and looking ahead to Common Core Standards and collect the data for nonfiction collection status.  Following the Twitter path again, found this middle school librarian is already thinking that direction: Eliterate Librarian.  Be preparing district library report that is due in July with cool images!

Blogs to Follow: This is just a sampling of blogs out there.  My suggestion is first start with people you know like Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, and Cathy Nelson.  In Google Reader Search or Advanced Google Search - Blogs, look around for more ideas.  I would recommend adding other educational bloggers besides the library related ones.  Check out this Edublog Award list.  See suggestions for organizing by using Google Reader, and other feed apps.

Linda's PLN Blog Reading List

Social Media Networks:


Twitter Guide by Mashable - probably more than you want to learn! - Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian great Twitter guides.

Hoot Suite

Use this social media management for your computer, tablets, and cell phones.  Allows you to organize your streams in columns.  Easier to read!

Cybraryman has education twitter hashtag lists and twitter chat schedules. Beginner's Twitter


Though I don't check this very often, it is a way to post your resume.  Always a good feeling to know you are documenting all the good things that you accomplish!


Big decisions on how to use Facebook personally with Missouri laws.  For my self, I have always just connected with family.  Facebook in my social media world is to keep up with the cousins and plan family reunions.

RSS Feeds or how not to go crazy keeping up with your crazy quilt of networks:

Google Reader Official Help

Google Reader - This is just over 10 minutes but it does cover all the little details of Google Reader.

YouTube Video

Subscriptions are easy to add by url links to blogs and journals.  You can also add your Twitter hash tag streams to Google Reader.  However, there is a trick to adding Twitter.

Google Reader Twitter Feeds

Apps for Google Reader - Feedly -

  • Organize your Google Reader so you can access your streams by Android & iPhones, iPads, Droid tablets, and computers
  • Can use different browsers.
  • Integrates with Twitter, Google Reader, Google+, Facebook, and Gmail.
  • New updates coming out this week.

Flipboard - iPad and iPhone app

YouTube Video

Curation Tools - These are examples of social bookmarking and collaboration possibilities.  Each has their benefits.  Mostly, try a few out, and select one to really learn how to save your bookmarks in the cloud.


  • Opens even with Lightspeed firewall on school computers.
  • Perfect for teachers who love 3 ring notebooks.
  • Search in the Public Binders for your curriculum, etc. and make a copy for yourself.
  • Load up web page links, Youtube video, and documents. 
  • Demonstrate to teachers how they can organize complete units.
  • Can be used as Presentation media.
  • Hint: If you want to see documents in all browsers, upload your documents to Google Docs. A Google Doc will have a url that can be added to the binder. Alternatively you can covert documents to .pdf. Recent versions of Microsoft Office offer output to .pdf.


  • Educator Version - You can organize students into classroom groups.
  • Privacy settings so only teachers and students can communicate.
  • Add another teacher or administrator to your educator account for open communication between teachers and students.
  • For professional development reasons, you may want to set up a 2nd account to collect your PLN links and documents.


  • Cloud based storage.
  • Syncs all your computers between home and school.  No more jumpdrives. 
  • When setting up account on home computer, double-check which files to sync.  Don't sync your whole My Documents folder since everything will then be visible on your work computer.
  • Share folders with teachers.  Collaboration!
  • You can just send a link to a file folder by email.
  • Perfect tool to demonstrate to teachers.
  • Gain more storage space on the free version by inviting friends to Dropbox.
  • Interested in an account?  Click here
  • Apps for Android, Apple, Blackberry, and Windows 7 phones
  • Syncs across all mobile devices and computers
  • Saves notes, web page links, images, and sound.
  • From home computer, able to save article from Ebscohost Academic databases.  School firewall caused problems.
  • Getting started Guide
  • Buffy Hamilton, The Unquiet Librarian, started teaching her students and teachers to use Evernote for research and collaboration - How My Students Started Using Evernote

Pinterest - Need an Invitation? Send an email to


Symballo: Teacher Librarians

  • Easy to use.  First search Symbaloo to see if someone else has previously made the "tile".  Simple add to your webmix.
  • Easy to make your own tiles. Add tile and paste in url.
  • Tiles can be moved around the grid.

Share and Colloborate

EdcampKC - November 10, 2012 @ Lee Summit North High School


SIGMS: Media Specialist Special Interest Group



TL Virtual Cafe




Nings for PLC

Teacher Librarian Ning

Classroom 2.0 Ning

Library 2.0 Ning


MASL Advocacy Resources

ISTE SIGMS Advocacy Portal

SIGMS Advocacy Wiki - more resources are being added.


ALA - AASL - ISTE Resources