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We Learn: Social Learning at the Library

Do you love learning? 

Have you ever taken an online course? Have you ever started an online course with the best intentions, but life got in the way, and you didn’t complete it? 

Was there ever something you wanted to learn – maybe even something really niche – and thought, “I wish the library had a class on that?” 

Have you ever looked for volunteer opportunities that relate to your love of learning, but didn’t find anything that quite fit the bill? 

Try We Learn 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you might want to check out We Learn. 

We Learn is social learning at the library. The concept is very simple: A group of people get together and take a course, usually an online course, together. Because the expertise comes from the course material, there is no teacher; instead, the group is kept on track by a facilitator, a person who the library trained to organize the group (and who may be learning right alongside the group). 

We Learn learning groups are called learning circles, and they follow a format that is used in libraries across the globe. Learning circles represent a sort of sweet spot between formal classroom training, which can be very effective but also more intensive than what a casual learner might need, and fully self-guided learning, which is flexible but can be tough to sustain. Learning circles offer the social support of a group setting with the flexibility and variety of online learning. 

Help Us Grow the We Learn Community of Learning 

This participatory model is what makes We Learn unique, and the success of We Learn depends on collaboration between learners, facilitators, and the library. There are a couple of different ways that you can get involved. 

Let Us Know What You Want to Learn 

The best ideas for new We Learn learning circles come from people in the community. If there is a course or topic that you would like to come and learn about with your neighbors, let us know. As long as there is a reputable online course available, it can be done safely in a library meeting room (sorry prospective fire-eaters) and at least a few other people are interested in taking it, it can be a learning circle. What have you always wanted to learn? 

Sign Up to Learn 

Check the We Learn listings regularly; new groups start every couple of months. If you find a learning circle that you would like to join, it is free and easy to sign up – just fill out the registration form for that learning circle and add it to your calendar. You will get more information and reminders about your learning circle. 

Sign Up to Facilitate 

Don’t see any learning circles that interest you? Become a facilitator! The training happens every few months, and once you are trained, you will receive periodic messages from CLP staff with opportunities to schedule learning circles. You will always be able to choose topics, schedules, and locations. Facilitators do not need to be experts – in fact, you can learn right along with the rest of the group. 


Check out upcoming sessions, facilitator opportunities and more!

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