Letter to the SJSU iSchool– Alumna Danielle Rapue Shares Her Innovative Networking Ideas

iStudent Blog

Published: November 22, 2016

An iSchool alumna shares the ways she used technology and innovative thinking to create a website about creating community in an online graduate school environment.

From time to time, iSchool faculty and staff receive thoughtful, unsolicited letters from alumni and students who want to share the impact the iSchool has had their on their lives and careers. The following letter is from an email to Director of Marketing and Communications, Nicole Purviance written by her former student assistant of social media, recent SJSU School of Information alumna Danielle Rapue.

Rapue currently works as an adjunct faculty librarian for two community college districts in California. While enrolled in the MLIS program, Rapue concentrated on academic librarianship to learn more about instructional design, teaching information literacy and providing reference services. Using the flexibility of the MLIS program, she also tailored her program to include courses in marketing information services, web development and serving diverse library populations to learn best practices for connecting with library patrons and stakeholders. 

Formerly the social media assistant for SJSU iSchool, Rapue was responsible for researching, posting and analyzing data on the school’s social media channels. With an undergraduate degree in public relations and professional background in market research, she did not initially realize how relevant those skills are to the realm of libraries and information science until she was fully immersed into the MLIS program. Her coursework and graduate assistant experience helped her understand that an essential aspect of any information setting is maintaining awareness of library services in user communities. The need to connect with others also inspired Rapue to co-present a poster session with current MLIS student Jillian Holt at the 2016 California Library Association (CLA) conference.

iSchool Letter from Alumna Danielle Rapue
Hi Nicole,
How have you been? Hope everything is well! Miss working with and learning from you. I continuously use so many skills I learned from my time as the social media assistant!

Since graduating, I’ve been hired as an adjunct librarian for two community college districts this August. Working both [districts] simultaneously has been a great experience to see how similar information settings operate so differently from one another.

I am presenting a poster session at CLA next month with MLIS student, Jillian Holt, regarding networking and building a sense of community as an online student. I am attaching the page from the CLA program that details our presentation if you want to know more about it or share with others.

Again, hope everything is going great, and thank you so much for all the valuable experience you’ve given me.

Additional Insight From Danielle Rapue on Her Poster-Session Experience
Jillian and I met at an SJSU iSchool social mixer at the 2015 CLA conference. We found commonalities in both being aspiring academic librarians and commiserated on the trials and tribulations of going to library school online. Even with my public relations background, it felt challenging to build my own LIS network online, and I wondered how daunting it might be for a student with no background in social media or public relations. Jillian and I maintained contact after the mixer and when proposals for the next CLA conference came up, we decided to develop the poster session to present at the 2016 California Library Association Conference. That bloomed into creating a digital starter kit (website) to help guide other library students in building their own online community of LIS students and professionals while completing an online library degree.

Despite living several hours apart, were able to successfully work together online to create our poster and website. We used tools such as email, Blackboard Collaborate, and Google Docs to work together. All were familiar to both of us from the MLIS program. We first looked at the issue and linked resources on getting mentally prepared to build your own network as an online student. We then compiled different types of resources available to an online students to build their network. For instance, we don’t just suggest creating a Twitter account, we provide a list of relevant hashtags that can help you find content or users in the library and information science field. We also give direct links to Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and other online spaces known to be used by MLIS students to help others make connections and build their community. Additionally, the website has a section dedicated to our own connections, so students can see the benefit of fostering these connections as a student.

We presented our poster session, “Building Your Own Community in an MLIS Online Program” this November in Sacramento. The response was extremely positive, not only from current students, but also MLIS alumni who felt it would have been helpful to have when they attended library school. I came up with the idea of having business cards printed with the website that we passed out during the poster session, so attendees could have quick access to the resources we were sharing. Many attendees took cards for students they know who were not able to attend the conference. Our poster session and website was born from a need, and based on the response we got at conference, it’s serving its purpose and helping MLIS students get started on building their own network.

For related content, be sure to check out:
Research Writing Advice from SJSU iSchool Experts

The iSchool’s Best Resources for Networking and Planning Your Career

Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work for You by Keeping it Current and Building Your Network


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