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Library Listservs: A Way to Grow Your PLN

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Dear Dr. Laura,

I’m the only librarian on my campus. Actually I should say I’m the only librarian in my district! Help!!! How can I find other librarians to learn from? To mentor me? To ask questions?


The One and Only

Hi, One and Only!

You are not alone! It may feel like it at times. But, you have a large group of supporters on the sidelines waiting to jump in and help you. Have you heard of listservs? You can picture it like a gigantic group message with people from all across your state or the nation! Listservs are electronic

discussion boards where like minded people ask and answer questions related to a common topic, which in our case would be school libraries. A listserv is a computer software program that manages an email list for its members. A member of the listserv group sends an e-mail to the group’s email address and then the listserv program sends the message out to everyone who is subscribed to the email list.

I think the idea of a listserv fits in nicely with AASL's Standard Framework for Learners: III. COLLABORATE - Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals. Not only do our students need to learn how to collaborate, but so do we! And I think you’ll find that school librarians are typically more than willing to help. Being part of a school librarian listserv is one way we collaborate with our colleagues.

I’d encourage you to join a couple of listservs. Warning: If they give you the option to receive a digest of the emails, choose that option! Some listservs are very active and you could get an overload of emails if there is a hot topic to discuss. A digest version will give you a list of the day’s emails you can scroll through at a later point. Some people even create a listserv folder in their email box and redirect all listserv emails to the designated folder. It helps keep their email box less cluttered.

In the beginning, you may want to lurk for awhile. Just follow along and see how the group talks to each other. Notice sometimes they use codes in the subject line to indicate what kind of post they are making. Sometimes you’ll see people respond to the whole group and other times you never see anybody respond. That’s because the audience responded only to the individual who asked the question. Many times it’s appropriate to only respond to the individual rather than the group at large.

I think you’ll find listservs a great way to connect with fellow librarians. Use this link to join the listserv for your state and maybe a national one like LM_Net, which is a very active group.

If you discover another listserv I should add (or edit), please email me at

Dr. Laura

Librarian Influencers of the Week: All the School Library Listservs across America! Find your state listserv to join now.

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