As I saw the influx of requests for removal from ya-music listserv I couldn’t help but be curious why people are leaving such a lovely list when it becomes active? The real answer probably is that they just signed up for everything YALSA related to see what it was, and now either don’t work with teens or aren’t interested in music/technology discussions related to teens.

However for a brief moment I couldn’t help think that just maybe its because we all really want to subscribe to something that does nothing because tons of email is scary. Which strangely brought me to another point: Where do all of the librarians who are uncomfortable with technology find support? I know we have blogs, podcasts, videos, listservs, and other staff at our libraries to support us often, but if you are young or a teen librarian everyone seems to think you know everything about computers. I recently overheard a computer tutoring session between a 28 year old computer expert and a teen boy. They discussed basics for all the functions of the mouse, how to use shortcut keys, and the concept that scrolling down the page means you are moving your view down, not moving the document up.

Listservs were scary for me when I first subscribed to them. I was getting 20+ emails a day, and I felt like I had to read ever single one in case I missed the very important gem of information. At the time I was using Outlook, who does have the option to create folders, which I used, but really didn’t meet my email needs. Later I found gmail, which allows me to tag my email, search for a word used in any message, and most importantly groups replies to messages together, Which meant the listservs I subscribe too started taking less time to read, and I developed the comfort level to not read every message because when I need that information I can do a search.

But on a more basic level, for everyone who is still feeling overwhelmed by technology there are different options to help relieve your stress.

  1. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer. Most of the time if you have a tech savy teen you can figure it out together building the teens self confidence.
  2. Attend a conference and sit in on sessions related to technology, and not just technology related to YA’s but also just technology in the library in general.
  3. Don’t try to do everything, but focus on one thing you are interested in and play with it, whether it be email, blogging, IM or something else.
  4. Knowing where to find the answer is more important than having the answer, so know where the libraries resources are on what you’re uncomfortable with, and if you don’t have them consider why not because even in middle school and high school not everyone is tech savvy.
  5. Consider getting Visual Quickstart guides for topics you are uncomfortable with, I’ve found those to be more helpful than the for dummies series.
  6. Most importantly don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially online. I know my fellow YALSA bloggers and I want everyone to be comfortable with serving teens especially through technology.

I’m sure my fellow bloggers will have more pointers for you, but hopefully this will get you started. 😀

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at

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