Library Science Listservs
Whether you are a novice to the field of library science or a polished professional with years of work experience under your belt, it’s extremely important to register for a plethora of listservs. There are general listservs about the profession, listservs from professional organizations, regional listservs, and profession-specific listservs. There is a wealth of important information contained within the digest of a listserv: ranging from job vacancies to professional meeting dates, pertinent announcements, and programmer recommendations. Library listservs are generally maintained by members of a professional organization or those established within the profession. Library listservs are a form of passive mentorship that can assist you in navigating the field of librarianship. You can decide which listservs are applicable based on your chosen focus, geographic location, and career ambitions. What is a listserv, anyway? According to Google, a listserv is ” an application that distributes messages to subscribers on an electronic mailing list.” Subscribers’ emails are submitted to a “reflector” e-mail address (usually something@_.org) and then those e-mails are collectively sent out to subscribers in a daily or weekly digest. It essentially works like a discussion board, with subscribers bouncing around ideas, opinions, and general information based on a shared interest, discipline, or common professional membership. Listservs in this context are sometimes referred to as “electronic discussion lists.”
Many professional organizations have streamlined their subscription process to listservs. For example, ALA’s listserv database is organized by divisions (American Association of School Librarians, for example) as well as subject divisions based on librarian interests (preservation of library materials, for instance). Searching lists by subject will deliver results with discussion lists that fall under the umbrella of that specific interest. Signing up for any of ALA’s discussion lists involves a click on the subscription link and entry of your e-mail address – you are not required to pay membership dues to subscribe to any of their lists. It should be noted that some organizations do require special approval or membership dues in order to sign up for their listserv, so check with the individual organization to be sure.
There are listservs in existence for every discipline imaginable within the library science field. In addition, if you are currently enrolled in library school there may be a listserv for students enrolled in the library science program. There is often valuable information within university listservs regarding internships, student teaching opportunities, and job openings posted for current students, recent graduates, and alumni.
Above all else, listservs offer the unique opportunity to tap into the collective wisdom of the librarian community. It is a fairly effortless way to bounce ideas off those who share your profession – from room design to programming feats.
Below you’ll find a sampling of library listservs. I encourage you to subscribe to the ones that pertain to you and your career specialty; do your own detective work as well and you’ll discover an array of mailing lists with content that will undoubtedly prove useful as you advance through your career:
AASL/ACRL INFOLIT (cross-disciplinary discussion list for public, school, and academic librarians to exchange ideas on information literacy)
AcqNet (concerning library acquisitions)
ALA (American Library Association)
ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology)
AUTOCAT (international list devoted to cataloging and authority control)
Child_Lit (general discussion concerning children’s literature)
ILI-L (Information Literacy Instruction)
IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)
ILL-L (Interlibrary Loan Listserv)
MLA (Medical Library Association)
PLA (Public Library Association)
PubLib (for public librarianship)
PUBYAC (Children & Young Adult Services in Public Libraries)
RUSA (Reference and User Services Association)
SLA (Special Libraries Association)