The Benefits of ListServs

I was first introduced to listservs as a circ associate back in 2007. I have since spent at least 2 hours a week posting, responding, and reading posts. I value them so much that registering for Listservs is always my first piece of advice to new librarians. I would like to share with you some discussions I have followed on my various listservs, in hops that you might join the ranks of young adult librarians who can’t seem to stop talking about their job.

1. Hunger Games. Twilight. Are you hosting a party? Need trivia questions or read-alikes? Look no further than a quick search of the YALSA Book Discussions listserv. Browse through the archives or do a quick search and viola! Instant party ideas. I have hosted at least 6 HG, HP and Twilight parties over the past few years, and each time I use this listserv for ideas.

2. The enthusiastic author of The Outreach Librarian recently asked on the aforementioned listserv, “What is the craziest/most innovative/interesting way you have answered a patron’s reference question?” The nearly dozen responses range from hysterical (signing a hymn to a patron on the telephone, and correcting a customer’s knitting error) to sad (helping a patron make a program for her mother’s memorial service) to innovative (consulting a firefighter about a fire that occurred many years ago). This was not at all YA-related, but reading them was a nice interlude to the work day (and served to remind me that although not every day is extraordinary, those that are are worth the wait).

3. The YALSA Young Adult Advisory Council listserv is a place to discuss programming, problems, and YA participation in libraries. When it was announced that Shonen Jump was going electronic-only, librarians took to the listserv to figure out where they and their young patrons could go to get their manga fix.

4. The YAAC listserv is also home to more lively discussions such as commenting on controversial topics like the legality of allowing truants in the teen center, misbehaving teens, and putting an age limit on the teen center and teen programs. The range of responses are never one-sided, so don’t come here looking for a straight answer. What you will get, though, is a professional discussion.

5. Need craft ideas? Search “craft” in either of the previously mentioned listservs and you will find more ideas than you have days in the year. (Better yet, head over to the unofficial YALSA Pinterest board.)

The listservs I follow give me book recommendations, help me when I can’t think of the title of that book I read once (you know, the one with the red cover?), guide me, and inspire me. Join one listserv, sign up for the daily digest (so your inbox doesn’t get inundated with individual emails), and start collaborating and learning!

For the record, I follow three YALSA listservs, including ya-yaac: YALSA Young Adult Advisory Councils; ya-book: YALSA book discussions; and ya-music: YALSA Teen Music Interest Group (of which I am the convener).

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One Comment

  1. I think it is interesting to put listservs in the context of the other ways that library staff working with teens can keep up and communicate with others in the field. I know a lot of people use Twitter as another, main, or different way to have a connection with their professional learning network. I have found it really useful to follow @yalsa on Twitter, along with following professionals in the field. It’s a great way to keep up with ideas, articles, news, and such. It’s also an amazing way to get instant feedback on a question or idea.

    It took me a long time to “get” the value of Pinterest and I think that it’s a useful way to keep up and learn from each other. The craft Pinterest linked in the blog post is a perfect example of exchanging and collaborating on a topic in a format that is flexible and easily updated. I’m not crafty but would love to build a Pinterest with colleagues on other kinds of service ideas. Perhaps a STEM Pinterest that shows different ways to integrate STEM into library services for teens. Or maybe a Pinterest that shows the different ways technology is integrated into library space. Hmmmmm, I’m thinking…..

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