Starting with Chicago Public Library in 2015, learning circles are now being run in 27 public library systems across the United States and Canada and 13 branches of the Kenya National Library Service.

Wow! That’s a lot of learning! More than 1000 study group meetings actually. However, except for a few chance encounters, we’ve never been able to meet up in person to share our experiences and plans.

With the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, P2PU and Kansas City Public Library will be hosting a first-of-its-kind gathering of learning circle practitioners and peer learning advocates.


You can’t run a learning circle without setting goals, right? Together, our meeting aims to achieve the following:

Location and Details

Kansas City Library
Kansas City Central Library. Photo credit: Jonathan Moreau CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The gathering will take place at the Helzberg Auditorium on the 5th floor of Kansas City Public Library’s downtown location (14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.) KCPL is a fully accessible building, and we are available to help accommodate any specific needs you may have.

We’ll begin at 9 AM on the morning of Thursday May 17th, and end around lunchtime on Friday the 18th. For those who can make it, we’ll be hosting a dinner on Wednesday evening as well.

Wednesday, May 16
Welcome Kansas City BBQ Dinner
Thursday, May 17
Full day program with breakfast and lunch
Friday, May 18
Morning activities ending around noon


Nearby hotel options include Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Hotel Phillips, Hotel Indigo, a bunch of other hotel options as well. There are also some nice Airbnb options available along the free, public streetcar line that serves the library and runs north to south between River Market and Union Station.

We are not planning on organizing pre-booked hotel rooms.

Getting to Kansas City

Kansas City is served by Kansas City International Airport (MCI), located about 20 miles north of the city. There are many Southwest flights in and out of MCI, so make sure you check their website, as they aren’t listed on most third party flight search engines.

A list of ground transportation options, including the public bus service, are listed on here. Services like Lyft and Uber are also available.

Guest List

We welcome attendance from all learning circle practitioners, facilitators, P2PU friends and supporters, librarians and educators, and those committed to peer, community-based, equitable and open learning. Our aim is for this to be an intimate and interactive event that will host between 30 – 40 participants.

Confirmed attendance includes the entire P2PU team of Nico, Dirk, Sharon and Grif (we live in three different countries – so this is a rare event!), learning circle facilitators and librarians from Chicago Public Library, Wichita Public Library, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library, Twin Lakes Public Library, Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, and of course let’s not forget Kansas City Public Library too. We also plan to host long-time P2PU advocates and others who have been running learning circles in community centers, literacy centers and immigrant learning centers.


If you would like to attend, we would love to have you. Our only expectation is that those who attend will be able to actively contribute their experience and have an interest in the development of learning circles and P2PU.

There is no big registration process necessary and no registration fee. The only costs you incur are travel to Kansas City, lodging, and dinner on Wednesday night should you want to attend. (We’ll take care of breakfast and lunch on Thursday for everybody).


I’ve never run or supported a learning circle or P2PU before, can I still come?

Maybe. This is private event, but we’re open to those who are truly interested in our collective work. Send Nico a message and let us know why you’re interested in coming (nico@p2pu.org).

Is there any way P2PU can help pay for me or my colleague come?

Don’t bet on it. We’re looking into sponsors, but as of right now, there is no additional funding to help get you to Kansas City.

How much does it cost to attend?

There are no fees to attend. Getting yourself to Kansas City and paying for accomodation and some food will be your main costs. We will be providing breakfast and lunch on Thursday, so that should take the costs down a bit. Wednesday’s dinner will be covered for IMLS grant participants, but others will have to pay if they want to attend (sorry!).

Will we will be able to participate in the conference online?

No, we do not have any plans to connect our meeting with an online audience. We could imagine organizing a session that allows for greater input from those who are not able to attend, however the primary purpose of the event will be to support in-person discussion.

Will the event be live streamed or recorded?

We plan to record as much as we can and share what we learned with everyone else, likely through photos, short videos, and a written summary. However, there won’t be hour long recorded lectures so that you can “learn online” at home, that’s not really our style.