As many subscribers may know, the YALSA electronic discussion lists are currently down. This includes private discussion lists for committees as well as our larger, popular public lists like YALSA-BK and YA-YAAC. We have alerted IT staff and are working to restore the lists as soon as possible.

We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at skuenn@ala.org.

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. 😀

One member of the YA-MUSIC list recently proposed we expand the topic of the list to cover all teen non-print media and technology. For one, YALSA doesn’t have a forum for librarians to discuss these topics, so lots of people are forced to write YALSA-BK or YA-YAAC for help. Secondly (and more to the point), our list has been pretty quiet lately. This means, as part of the list and blog, I’ve been quiet lately. So why’s that?

Perhaps you share a lot of my reasons: boredom, disinterest, and even discontent. In a lot of ways, music seems to be in a pretty unhealthy state. I don’t feel that it’s a case of fuddy-duddyism to say that creative otuput is weaker, music sales are dwindling, show attendance is generally down from what it was before (you can read one disgruntled indie promoter’s account). Many of the same bands and artists from the late-90s and earlier are still producing songs for the radio, often at their most uninspiring. Li’l Wayne, Britney Spears, Foo Fighters, etc. are all still kicking.

Popular new bands and artists are mostly still riding out the sounds that seemed fresh and exciting from earlier this decade (poppy emo-rock, crunk, metal-core, etc.). I just asked one of the most vocal proponents of music at the library what new bands are providing him with inspiration, and I got nothing but a blank stare and stammering. And this is someone who listens to music hours upon hours each day. This is also someone whose favorite bands are Offspring, Sum 41, and Pearl Jam–none of which formed after 2000.

I also wonder if librarians get weak knees in discussing music when so many popular artists are knee deep in guns, drugs, and other legal trouble and stints in rehab? Would YALSA-BK go hush if John Green was arrested for a deadly weapons charge? If Meg Cabot got brought in for DUI? At ALA 2007, I shared a knowing glance with another teen librarian, after we mentioned needing to reorder new copies of the most recent Akon CD, Konvicted. This was, of course, right after Akon threw a teen into the crowd from a stage in Fishkill, New York–which itself was hot off the heels of Akon simulating sex with a 14 year-old while on stage in Trinidad (you can find them both on Youtube, if you’re so inclined).

This isn’t to say that there aren’t interesting and invigorating things going on, many of which have implications for library service beyond music. I’ll blog about those soon. But when there’s such a stark contrast in the music and publishing industry, from the industry to the personalities, it’s hard to get motivated enough to actively discuss and promote music to my peers, no matter how much of an advocate I might fancy myself.

But enough about me. What’s been keeping you from feeling chatty on YA-MUSIC?

As I read postings from the past week or so, I am struck by the incredible resource we have at hand. The discussion raging right now is focused on the awards that will be announced in about a month at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Talk of possible Printz candidates is racing across the miles that separate us and reminds us that we are connected through reading and books and this listserv.