Children’s & YA Listservs: A Primer

30 07 2012

Welcome back to the “Primer” series! You can catch up on the two most recent  installments if you’re interested in reading past entries. Today’s topic is going to be about listservs — what they are as well as some recommendations of children’s and YA listservs for those interested.

What is a listserv?

For this one, we’ll pass it off to our old friend Wikipedia, which defines a listserv as:

a special usage of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list — a list of names and addresses — as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to its members or customers, but typically refers to four things — a list of email addresses, the people (“subscribers”) receiving mail at those addresses, the publications (email messages) sent to those addresses, and a reflector, which is a single email address that, when designated as the recipient of a message, will send a copy of that message to all of the subscribers.

A listserv essentially is an email list that goes out to a large number of users that have subscribed to the list, and allows users to send an email that goes out to everyone that subscribes to the list. It’s not a new idea — the idea has been around since the early 1980s — but they can be useful for connecting, sharing, and learning — and a nice thing to get in your inbox. There are many different listservs — both social and professional — that discuss and deal with different topics.

There are many different children and YA literature listservs — some run by universities, by private owners, by organizations such as ALA, YALSA, and ALSC, and all of them are easy to subscribe and connect to.

What are the “best” listservs?

I’m not going to say what the “best” are. There are plenty of listservs and not all of them are for everyone. I don’t subscribe to all of the listservs on this list. However, all of these lists have been recommended by many different people & and are well used and well-frequented.

A note on this list: all of these lists are for children’s and YA lit, but a couple of these listservs are more bent towards librarians (ie designed for librarians).

The List

child_lit: Run by Rutgers University, child_lit is arguably the most well-known listserv on this list. Running for about fifteen years, the list comprises of a large archive and thousands of members. The purpose of this list is to cultivate discussion about children’s literature in it’s many forms and members discuss all kinds of books, genres, and ideas — from children’s to YA to nonfiction and more. The members are especially notable — the list is diverse, with bloggers and writers and teachers and librarians and scholars all participating, as well as some authors. (Notable authors include Phillip Pullman, Jane Yolen & Patrice Kindl) To subscribe to child_lit you can check out the login page as well as glean more information from the info page.

YALSA-bk: YALSA, or the American Library Association’s young adult division (view their website here), hosts their own listserv, called YALSA-bk, that specializes on young adult literature, it’s many forms, discussion, and ideas. There is also an added component of librarian discussion, with librarians discussing how best to use YA lit with their patrons and how to use it in the library through the listserv. To join YALSA-bk, read the information on the info and login page.

Pub-yac: Pub-yac is another library-related listserv run by the Center for Children’s Books.  This one is designed specifically for librarians in public libraries that work with children and young adults, and focuses on public library issues, as well as touching on all kinds of books (adult, children’s, nonfiction) and discussing books and other current issues in the kidlit fields and the library community. To subscribe to pub-yac, you can view the information on the pubyac subscriber page.

CCBC-Net: A listserv run by the University of Madison, this listserv focuses on issues and ideas of children and YA literature. This list has discussion topics which are discussed by its members each month, and is not a “general” listserv (basically – you can ask whatever you want) like the others on this list. Some current list topics are the books of Mo Williems and a discussion of the Printz Award. To subscribe, you can join here, and to find lists of the topics a list is here.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of any kind, and simply googling “children’s literature listserv” will turn up plenty more listservs. If you’re interested in reading good discussion, or if you want something different and interesting in your inbox, check out these lists. If you’re not so into a flood of emails (and this can be solved using “digest” mode — double check when registering) check out the archives of the lists.

Hopefully there will be something interesting here!

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