Don’t Miss: Unofficial Communications

This entry was written in my capacity as a peer mentor at the SJSU iSchool. It has been cross-posted from my iSchool Community website.

As I face down the end of my time at SJSU, it’s been interesting to go back through the coursework for 203. I took it way back in 2014. Substantively it hasn’t changed much, although it was still pretty interesting to see what isn’t in the modules. INFO 203 is a great way to start the program, but it can’t cover everything, and it turns out that several of the things that have really enriched my time here are missing from this class.Β  With that in mind, this will be the first of three posts about ways I made the program work for me, in the hopes that you can use or adapt them to really make the program work for you.

The first piece of advice I have is also the easiest: talk to your classmates outside of the official channels.

I can say, with 100% certainty, that I got my first library job because of someone I did a group project with. When we “met” in class, she was already working for the library that now employs me, and since our respective workplaces were literally next door to each other we decided to meet in person as well (just for a few minutes). When we saw each other in another class, we volunteered to be partners again. We maintained a friendly relationship, and when her office needed to hire someone for a non-librarian position, she gave me a heads up and told the hiring manager to look out for me. Eventually, when there was a vacancy in the library due partially to her moving on to bigger and better things, I was promoted. I am literally sitting in her old desk as I type this on her old computer, on my lunch break from my fancy new job.

To be frank: I met the qualifications for my current job and exceeded the qualifications for the one [name redacted] recommended me for. I’m absolutely sure that I did well in my interviews. But I don’t know that I would have seen the initial job posting if she hadn’t pointed it out to me. And I doubt she would have pointed it out to me if we hadn’t made a personal connection. This isn’t to say that you need to go out of your way to meet the people in your classes in your area in person. It’s certainly a good idea if you can swing it, and I’ve made a couple of good friendships that way, but it’s not a requirement. If you can, though, try to at least maintain friendly communications; maybe follow each other on social media?

Now. Speaking of social media, you should probably be following the iSchool too, where you can. I know that I’ve interacted with other students in comment threads on the school’s tweets, and have found new people to follow at the very least. There are several Facebook groups dedicated to connecting iSchool students, like

There’s even a Facebook group for iSchool students in and around Los Angeles, and it would be super easy to start one for wherever you happen to be.

Also. Even if you don’t use Yahoo (I don’t use Yahoo), it is worth your time to join the SJSU MLIS Yahoo Group. There is a ton of information there, and while I don’t think it’s necessarily the best place to connect with people it is a really good source of information: you can ask about one professor versus another, if a particular class worth your time, or which classes are doable over the summer, for example. It’s the closest thing we have to gossiping about the program, and they’ve never steered me wrongΒ  yet.

I’m sure there are other ways to communicate outside of class that just never crossed my path. If you know them, please leave a comment! It’s too late for me, but you might be able to help each other. πŸ™‚


Nine Women, One Dress, by Jane L. Rosen

9women1dressTitle: Nine Women, One Dress

Author: Rosen, Jane L. (Author’s Website)

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit

Bibliographic: Doubleday, 272 pages, Hardcover List Price $24.95, Audiobook List Price $24.50, Audiobook CD List Price $35.00, ISBNs 9780385541404
9781410492975, 9780385541435

Publication Date: July 12, 2016

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Heartwarming, engaging

Why I picked it up: I needed to read some chick lit for my readers’ advisory class, and I had heard that books with dresses on the cover were a good place to start.

S.I.A.S.: A series of women in New York City have their lives changed by one particular dress.

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Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters

fingersmithTitle:Β Fingersmith

Author: Waters, Sarah (Author’s Website)

Genre:Β  Historical fiction, crime fiction, LGBTQ fiction

Bibliographic: Riverhead Books, 582 pages, Paperback List Price $17.00, Audiobook List Price $28.04, ISBNs 9781573222037, 9781573229722, 9781860498831, 9781101057025

Publication Date: October 1, 2002

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Books to TV, first person, Gothic, literary fiction, multiple perspectives, character-driven, intricately plotted, atmospheric, suspenseful, descriptive

Why I picked it up:Β A close friend told me it was one of her favorite books and I needed to read it ASAP.

S.I.A.S.: Susan Trinder is going to pull a con on Maud Lilly, but there’s too much information she doesn’t know.

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Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley

devilinabluedressTitle:Β  Devil in a Blue Dress

Author: Mosley, Walter (Author’s Website)

Genre: Mysteries, African-American Fiction

Bibliographic: Washington Square Press, 263 pages, Hardcover List Price $42.00, Paperback List Price $16.00, Audiobook CD List Price $9.99, Audiobook List Price $21.95, ISBNs 9780393028546, 9780743451796, 9780671511425, 9780671019822, 9781442082427, 9781560547228, 9781451612486, 9781852427498, 9780330321143, 9781841975276

Publication Date: June 17, 1990

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors:Β  Character-driven, atmospheric, gritty, books to movies

Why I picked it up: I attended an event recently where Walter Mosley was the keynote speaker, and he was phenomenal, so I bought this for the bus ride home.

S.I.A.S.: Easy Rawlins needs money, and finding Daphne Monet seems like a good way to get some.

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The Veins of the Ocean, by Patricia Engel

veinsoftheoceanTitle:Β The Veins of the Ocean

Author: Engel, Patricia (Author’s Website)

Genre:Β Literary Fiction

Bibliographic: Grove Press, 320, Hardcover List Price $25.00, Paperback List Price $17.00, Audiobook List Price $27.99, Audiobook CD List Price $29.99, ISBNs 9780802124890, 9780802189998, 9780802126740, 9781534608092

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Rating: Stars of Five for Quality/β™₯β™₯β™‘β™‘β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Character-driven, atmospheric, reflective, descriptive, lyrical

Why I picked it up: Thanks to the 2016 presidential election results, I found myself growing grim about the mouth, bringing up the rear of every funeral I met, and knowing a damp drizzly November in my soul. It was high time to get to sea as soon as I could.

S.I.A.S.: Reina struggles to come to terms with her family’s legacy, while Nesto struggles to come to terms with his family’s present.

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The Trespasser, by Tana French

trespasserTitle:Β The Trespasser

Author: French, Tana (Author’s Website)

Genre:Β Police procedural, suspense

Bibliographic: Viking, 464 pages, Hardcover List Price $27.00, Audiobook List Price $38.50, Audiobook CD List Price $55.00 ISBNs 9780670026333, 9781524708672, 9780735221093

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Psychological, first-person narrative, complex, fast-paced, suspenseful, compelling, dialect-filled

Why I picked it up:Β I’ve read the first five books in the series, and loved all but one of them.

S.I.A.S.: Antionette Conway must solve the murder of Aislinn Murray, but the facts aren’t quite lining up.

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Amaryllis, by Jayne Castle

amaryllisTitle: Amaryllis

Author: Castle, Jayne (Author’s Website)

Genre: Romance, futuristic romance

Bibliographic: Pocket Books, 336 pages, Mass Market Paperback List Price $7.99, , ISBNs 9780671569037, 9780671021436, 9781574901399, 9781451624014

Publication Date: October 1, 1996

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Futuristic, character-driven, fast-paced, steamy

Why I picked it up: This book was required reading for my readers’ advisory class. I would not have picked it up otherwise.

S.I.A.S.: Lucas Trent and Amaryllis Lark both have mysteries to solve, not least of which is why they are so drawn to each other.

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Nobody’s Baby But Mine, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

nobodysbabybutmineTitle:Β  Nobody’s Baby But Mine

Author: Phillips, Susan Elizabeth (Author’s Website)

Genre: Romance

Bibliographic: William Morrow Paperbacks, 400 pages, Paperback List Price $12.99, Mass Market Paperback $7.99, Audiobook List Price $35.93, ISBNs 9780380782345, 9780060894702, 9780062004666, 9780062107008, 9780783881973, 9780061793219, 9780066212203, 9780749937775

Publication Date: February 1, 1997

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Funny, steamy, engaging

Why I picked it up: A podcast I listen to said it was really funny.

S.I.A.S.: Physicist Jane Darlington desperately wants to have a baby, but doesn’t want it to be brilliant like her, so she sets out to find a stupid man.

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The Owl Killers, by Karen Maitland

theowlkillersTitle: The Owl Killers

Author: Maitland, Karen (Author’s Website)

Genre:Β Historical fiction

Bibliographic: Penguin, 640 pages, Paperback List Price $15.00, Audiobook List Price $53.41, ISBNs 9780385341707, 9780440244431, 9780141031897, 9780718153205, 9780440338888

Publication Date: March 26, 2009

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™₯β™‘β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Multiple perspectives, fast-paced, atmospheric, creepy, suspenseful, richly detailed

Why I picked it up:Β It was assigned for my readers’ advisory class. I would never have read it otherwise.

S.I.A.S.: A group of beguines struggles to survive in Medieval England, while a shadow group called the Owl Masters opposes them.

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Blood Groove, by Alex Bledsoe

bloodgrooveTitle: Blood Groove

Author: Bledsoe, Alex (Author’s Website)

Genre:Β Horror

Bibliographic: Tor, 304 pages, Paperback List Price $19.99, Audiobook List Price $20.97, Audiobook CD List Price $29.95, ISBNs 9780765321961, 9780765323088, 9780765361615, 9781429956574

Publication Date:Β April 28, 2009

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†/β™₯β™₯β™‘β™‘β™‘ (The rating scale is here).

Appeal Factors: Urban fantasy, flawed characters, creepy, steamy, violent, dialect-filled, gritty

Why I picked it up:Β It seemed like a good book for Halloween.

S.I.A.S.: Sixty years after his “death,” vampire Rudolfo Zginski wakes up in 1970s-era Memphis, Tennessee.

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