Electronic Discussion Group for Friends Groups

Friends from all types of libraries are invited to participate in the United for Libraries electronic discussion group focused on topics of interest to library Friends. When you send an e-mail to the discussion group, it is automatically sent to all subscribers, and their e-mails are sent to your e-mail. In this way, Friends from around the country can share advice and their real world experiences. Messages are automatically archived for future searching.

Discussion topics can be whatever interests you - book sale strategies, fundraising ideas, membership drives, leadership recruitment, innovative programs, where to find gift shop items, selling used books online, how to develop library support in your community, etc. Participants agree to abide by a few simple guidelines:

  • The electronic discussion group is an information forum for those wishing to seek and share best practices for Friends and libraries.
  • All participants are to be treated with courtesy.
  • Commercial solicitation and/or spam is prohibited.
  • You do not need to be an ALA member or United for Libraries personal or group member to participate.

NOTE - The current electronic discussion group, friends@lists.ala.org, was launched on July 1, 2012 and archives for this new electronic discussion group began on that date. The archives of the prior electronic discussion group, FOLUSA-L, can still be searched and viewed although that electronic discussion group is closed to posting. Please review the appropriate instructions below related to both electronic discussion groups.

Joining the Active Electronic Discussion Group

To join, send an email to sympa@lists.ala.org. In the subject line of your message type:

subscribe friends Firstname Lastname

Insert your own first name and last name as indicated. Leave the body of the message blank (remove any signature that is automatically included). Send the message. In a few minutes you will receive a welcome message and you can then begin posting emails to the electronic discussion group. If you do not see the welcome message, please check your spam folder.

Posting to the Active Electronic Discussion Group

To start a discussion, send an email to friends@lists.ala.org. Please use an appropriate subject line so readers have an idea of what your message is about. Other electronic discussion group members can then reply to your message and everyone on the electronic discussion group will receive the response to continue the discussion. Please note that this electronic discussion group is moderated to reduce spam. United for Libraries staff members check emails evenings, weekends, and holidays to ensure messages are released to the electronic discussion group in a timely manner. Please note also that as a default setting of your subscription you will not receive a copy of the message that you send to be posted. If you wish to receive a copy of your own messages, please see the next section on managing your subscription.

Managing Your Electronic Discussion Group Subscription(s)

To manage your subscription to the United for Libraries Friends electronic discussion group and any other ALA electronic discussion group, visit http://lists.ala.org/sympa. On your first visit to Sympa select the option, "First login?" under the login boxes in the upper left corner of the screen. Once you log in you can change the address to which you receive electronic discussion group messages, change your settings to digest format (a single daily email with all messages posted that day), search the archives, and sign up for other ALA electronic discussion group. You can also change the default setting to receive a copy of messages that you send to be posted.

Searching the Archives of the Active Electronic Discussion Group

To read the archives of the United for Libraries Friends electronic discussion group (launched July 2, 2012),  you must login to Sympa, the electronic discussion group management website. Visit http://lists.ala.org/sympa. If you have never visited this site before, please view the for first time login-in and accessing the archives (PDF).

If you have previously logged into the Sympa site and have a password already, please view the simplified instructions for accessing the archives (PDF).

Searching the Archives of the Historical (Closed) Electronic Discussion Group

To read or search the archives of the FOLUSA-L electronic discussion group (closed to active posts as of July 1, 2012), you must be a member of that electronic discussion group. If you are already, a member: 

If you are not a member of the FOLUSA-L electronic discussion group and wish to search the historical archives, first join the electronic discussion group as follows. After joining, follow the above instructions for accessing the historical archives. Please note that joining the FOLUSA-L electronic discussion group will only grant you access to the archives. The electronic discussion group is closed to posts.

  • Send an e-mail message to listserv@s-listserv.thomsonlearning.com
              -In the body of the message, type ONLY: Subscribe FOLUSA-L followed by your name
              -For Example: Subscribe FOLUSA-L John Doe
  • You will then be subscribed at the e-mail address from which the message was sent, and you will receive a welcome e-mail message giving you instructions on how to participate.
  • If you have difficulty subscribing, your e-mail program may be inserting additional text into the body of your message. This could confuse the list processing software. Try sending your message in plain text rather than html.

Additional Help

If you have any questions about the electronic discussion group or experience difficulty, please email bnawalinski@ala.org for assistance. Please note in your email if you are experiencing difficulty with the active electronic discussion group or the closed FOLUSA-L electronic discussion group.