PLIX Creative Learning Ambassadors Q&A

The application for our inaugural cohort of PLIX Creative Learning Ambassadors application is now open!

We’re hosting an optional information session this Friday at 12 noon Eastern.

Interested, or know someone who should apply? Come on Friday or just go ahead and fill out the form (in the thread below, I will add some questions whose answers you can work on before you start filling out the online form.)

This is part of the IMLS-funded Facilitating Creative Learning project.

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While we expect the form to take only about 15-20 minutes to complete, the form cannot be saved. These are some questions whose answers may take longer to find out / compose. We recommend thinking these through before you start filling out the form, perhaps writing your answers in a doc from which you can copy and paste.

  • School district(s) your library serves
  • What’s a favorite program you’ve run at your library? What did you love about it?
  • Tell us about a time when you felt challenged while facilitating a program. How did you address it?
  • Have you ever run a professional development session for your colleagues? If so, tell us about it/them.
  • Short Bio

We had a great conversation with about a dozen PLIX community members on Friday, and it was a joy to see such enthusiasm for this new program. It also highlighted some areas we’re planning to clarify in our announcement about this program. If you’d like to take a look at the infosession, here’s our recording of the Zoom session. I will also add some questions that came up in the chat and live in the thread below, with answers as we have them.

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In the chat during the infosession, there were a number of questions about the regions we showed, such as: Is it a state coverage or just a region in a state? If my region is open to in-person activities, then can an ambassador hold a workshop? Do I have to drive all over my very large state to do this?

We are hoping for geographic diversity in this first cohort, but we are not imagining that you are responsible for that region. We hope that you would be open to interacting with people near you who want to get started with PLIX, as you may enjoy common ground both metaphorically and physically!

And yes! you should stay safe and follow your local municipal code regarding masking and in-person activities.

How much do you need to break new ground as you provide localized professional development? One attendee asked, “If I’m already working system-wide with tech training, can I integrate the Ambassadors work into my programming?” That depends. This project aims to induct new audiences into facilitating creative learning. If your program already aims to do that and has been funded by another agency, and you would not welcome anyone not already in your system to your training, then it would make more sense to leave that Ambassadorship for someone who is interested in reaching out to new audiences (i.e. in being ambassadorial!) This program may be well matched for someone who, like one of our attendees, says they’ve “been wanting to do a facilitation training for my system” and anticipates this would be “super helpful in planning and executing something like that.” The two viewpoints are similar, but in the second, it sounds like PLIX might play a bigger role in affecting how the system will think about facilitation: through a creative learning lens. In the first example, it’s less clear that the connection with PLIX will change the approach of the PD. Anyhow, everyone should apply and we can work out details later! If you are running a professional development workshop that you want to consider your contribution to the Ambassadors program, ideally you’d integrate PLIX materials AND welcome people from a neighboring library system, county, or state to join if they have time to do so.

We also heard a number of questions about time commitment the program will require. We recognize that your managers may want to know this before you can apply. This program is what we make it together. We expect you’d spend an hour or two a week contributing to the cohort and the wider PLIX community, on average, from late September or early October to next summer.
If you are reasonably active in PLIX right now, you can figure it’s about twice as much time as you currently contribute to PLIX. Your supervisor may need to be “okay with the idea of creating our own goals and schedules as part of this first cohort,” as one attendee of the infosession put it.

Of course, the hours can quickly add up if you decide the way you want to contribute is to host a professional development workshop in your area. Even if we provide much of the materials (slide decks and handouts), you may spend 5-10 hours preparing for workshop, 5-10 hours running it, and several hours wrapping it up and sharing it with the PLIX community.

Other attendees asked what kinds of support/mentorship the PLIX staff will provide. We plan to have regular meetings to build cohort cohesion, provide opportunities to learn from one another, and nail down our best professional development materials. We’ll work with you to deepen your understanding of creative learning facilitation, and hone our skills in facilitating the learning of facilitation as a practice! We’ll also have a special area within the PLIX Community of Practice (the PLIX forum), and we’ll provide a place where we can share PDFs, docs, notes, and other files and inspirations.

Near the end of the infosession, one attendee helpfully summarized: ‘We’ll imagine and create on our own time and get together every month or so online to discuss and share our ideas. “Ambassador” and “region” in this case do not actually mean we’ll need to travel. And sharing ideas can be done within our library, or online, as well as in person, if applicable.’ Another called it “open-ended” and says that “gives so much autonomy to be creative about the things we’re passionate about”.

Perhaps the deepest question of the afternoon came shortly before we closed: “What does the PLIX team hope to learn from the Ambassadors in the Ambassador program?” We want to understand better how we can support a growing network. We feel passionately about how great a fit creative learning is to public libraries, and we know there is a corresponding fervor in some of you out there: we’ve seen it! We have a vision of PLIX and creative learning in many more libraries, and we cannot do this work alone. We are hoping you will show us how we can reach and support more library professionals.

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Please ask any additional questions you have about the program below, or you can email us at