Gearing Up for All Together Now

Announcing All Together Now: A Learning 2.0 Experience!

This is a cross posting from my blog at SLJ.

Greetings All Together Now participants!

This is Michael Stephens, and I’ll be posting to this blog for the next few weeks for this Learning 2.0 course.

When Brian Kenney asked me to take this project on, I was tickled. I’ve watched successful Learning 2.0 programs play out all over the world since the summer of 2006 when Helene Blowers launched the original program she created at the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County. I was lucky enough to be there for the opening day with my writing partner Michael Casey, to speak to the staff about the emerging tools and the excitement of exploring them for libraries. I love the open, playful, and fun attitude this program brings to libraries. All of the tools in the program are free or virtually free!

About Your Guide

First, a bit about me: I’ve been working with technology in libraries for many years. I started as a paraprofessional at the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana back in 1991 working with technology in one way or another: AV, reference, public computing, IT, training, etc.

In 2003, I discovered blogging and  was hooked! I started my Tame the Web blog then and have enjoyed writing and sharing with people in libraries since. I’ve also been speaking and working with library groups for the past few years, including a recent trip to Australia to do seven presentations in five cities.

I spent almost 15 years in the public library while finding my way back to school for the doctorate in 2004 so I could teach in a library school. I’ll be starting my third year at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science this fall. I enjoy teaching – classes, workshops, webinars and programs such as this. 

To learn more about me, please visit:

What is Learning 2.0? 

It’s a program that will “encourage staff to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of information on the Internet today.” It’s based on exploring a series of “things” – emerging tools like blogs, wikis, Flickr etc. 

Helene Blowers went on to release the program intiated at PLCMC to the world – so other libraries and organizations could participate as well.  Wired magazine reported on the success of the program, noting that “Libraries all over the world are doing just that — moving the entire Learning 2.0 program to their own websites. The program has been duplicated by university and community library systems in Sweden, Australia, Canada and Denmark. In the United States, programs are underway in South Carolina, Florida, Maryland and California.”

Helene designed the program for self-directed learning and exploration that will only take a little bit of time for each module. By the end of our course, you’ll be able to say you’ve had experience with:

Web Toys
Web 2.0 & Library 2.0
Social Networking Sites
Video Sites
Google Apps

That’s 12 things!

So, we have a great adventure ahead of us. We’ll do our own version of Learning 2.0 – for anyone and everyone that wants to participate, far and wide. Then, you’ll be able to take the content and use it in your schools, libraries, organizations…really, everywhere! Hopefully, some of you will roll the program out for your users/students/faculty/staff as well. As we go along, please ponder how you might use these tools to make your life easier, how it might further  your work, and how you might share with others.

Our work will begin the 21st of July! Starting Monday, I’ll put up a post here — the first of our “things” – with instructions to explore. The first thing is getting a blog and trying out blogging.

I’ve worked with a lot of libraries doing these programs and folks sometimes confess they are scared to dive in. These tools seem too new or hard to use. This program is designed to alleviate those worries. Work at your own pace. Work with a colleague or friend. I kid you not, this is a perfect time and a perfect place to experience these things. These rules will help: 

Explore. Try things out. Don’t worry about “breaking” anything! Ask questions. There are no dumb questions. AND It’s okay to make mistakes.

So please dive in. Explore. Play. And share what you are learning and thinking about! 

The Blog for All Together Now is at