Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SWT: Technology Takes on Social Work

In the November/December 2010 issue of Social Work Today, there is a feature article on the fusion of social work and technology.
Let’s face it: Technology is transforming how people collect and share information and social workers who refuse to acknowledge this trend risk falling out of step with the profession. But organizations that impose data management technology without taking clinicians’ needs into account risk creating systems that bog down social work rather than enhance it.

“The technology is here. You’re going to have to use it, and it’s not going away,” says Mike Meikle, a Virginia-based IT consultant with experience serving the human services sector. “But managers can’t just implement this in a vacuum; they have to include their people in the process. You have to make sure that your users are on board and that they understand how it’s going to benefit them.”

Nevertheless, there is some resistance among social workers in adopting data management information systems in their work. Do you believe these systems benefit or burden social workers?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Rochester, NY: Libraries delivering life-saving information

I found this excellent article from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. It illustrates the ways in which libraries are helping communities -- basic literacy, employment and tutoring -- in times of great need. More importantly, they are reaching out to underserved populations.
Libraries have long been about more than books, but in the city they now deliver life support in the shape of information. Kids seek homework assistance from high school tutors. Some libraries offer adults help acquiring the basic literacy skills they need to undertake a GED program — sometimes in libraries with the help of volunteer teachers.

Adults from some of the city's poorest neighborhood find that they cannot apply for even fast-food restaurant or retail jobs without an online application, and librarians can help them establish a Yahoo or Gmail account so they can receive e-mail responses to those applications. Libraries have income tax forms, and sometimes have volunteer tax preparers available to answer questions.

"We're meeting the needs of the community," says Shelley Matthews, the northwest quadrant librarian who oversees the Lyell Avenue, Maplewood and Charlotte branches. "And those are the needs."

here is another bonus article by American Libraries magazine: 12 Ways Libraries Are Good for the Country.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Careers in Sociology - Third Edition (2004)

Are you an undergraduate student wondering what can you do with a sociology degree? Are you a college graduate planning to return to graduate school soon?

Careers in Sociology -- Third Edition (2004), by W. Richard Stephens, Jr., is the latest edition in career books for sociology majors. Most college students (especially underclassmen) take sociology courses because it is often a general distribution requirement. It is also the first time they have come across sociology in their lives. This book answers the frequently-asked question, I find topics interesting, but is there anything I can do if I were to major in sociology?" The author states, "Yes, you can get a job with degree in sociology!"

This book is geared towards undergraduate students and college graduates. Each chapter contains character profiles that document the work and carers of person who chose to pursue a degree in sociology. The character profiles contain a variety of career paths (specifics about the work or career, sociological aspects of the work itself, degree preparation and requirements for employment, information on how the job was acquired, salary and future prospects). Since the character profiles are based on real-life experiences, the person's names are anonymous to protect their identity. It also contains a workbook for job seekers in sociology.

You don't have to become a professor to use your sociology degree. Sociology gives you many transferable skills. I continue to use my sociological knowledge in graduate school. I highly recommend this book to someone who is researching their future career because sociology is a very broad discipline with endless career opportunities. Sample character profiles include:

* Business
* Criminal Justice
* Education
* Evaluation Research
* Government
* Health Care
* International Relations
* Law
* Military
* Social Work
and much more!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jill Hurst-Wahl: What Every LIS Student Should Know

Although this post is geared towards librarians and information professionals, I think social workers will also find this advice very helpful. Jill Hurst-Wahl, MLS, is a digitization consultant and owner of Hurst Associates, Ltd. as well as an Assistant Professor of Practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Jill's interests include digitization, digital libraries, copyright, web 2.0 and social media. She says:
Every fall, a new group of graduate students arrives in the classroom on their way to becoming librarians and information professionals. Each group is full of energy and ideas, and ready to take on the world. Each student believes in the power of information, even before they fully realize the power that information holds. Every person is willing to make sacrifices in order to reach his/her goal. While the wide-eyed "this is awesome" attitude remains during the semester, it often becomes tempered as students attend to the details of their classes and their lives as graduate students. We're at the point in the semester where stress and elation are hand-in-hand. The end of the semester is in sight, but there is so much to do before then!

With that as a backdrop, this is what I want LIS students to know (no matter where in the world you are)..

You can read the rest of her advice by clicking here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Number of Adults Living with Parents Exploding

In Huffington Post, the number of adults living with their parents in the United States has exploded. It's a difficult world for college graduates to start their careers. Inreasing cost of living, low entry-level salaries, growing scarcity of full-time jobs (with benefits), and high student loan debt are common barriers. For many new social workers and information professionals, these are very important things to consider once we graduate with our master's degrees.
Empty nest parents, be warned: the number of adults aged 25 to 34 who are living with their parents has exploded, according to this rather shocking chart put together by economist Tom Lawler and posted on Calculated Risk.

Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Transitions to Adulthood titled "What's Going on with Young People Today? The Long and Twisting Path to Adulthood" concluded that the economic downturn has caused an entire generation to delay adulthood.As ScienceDaily summarized the study: "In 1969, only about 10 percent of men in their early thirties had wages that were below poverty level. By 2004, the share had more than doubled. Overall, the share of young adults in 2005 living in poverty was higher than the national average."

I feel for these college graduates. When I graduated from college, I moved in with my parents because my weekly earnings at my previous job were not enough for me to live on my own. I did not move out until I began graduate school in a different city. This was several years ago, but I imagine the situation is much worse now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Broken American Justice System

The Huffington Post has an excellent article on the American justice system and plight of ordinary people. The system is so broken that most Americans have no access to civil justice. The United States also ranked among the bottom for developed countries.
Why haven't more Americans successfully sued the banks that lured them into fraudulent mortgages, then foreclosed on them without the required paperwork?

It could be because the civil justice system in this country is essentially inaccessible to many Americans -- and when it does get accessed, is tilted toward the wealthy and moneyed interests.

That's certainly consistent with the finding of a world-wide survey unveiled Thursday morning that ranks the United States lowest among 11 developed nations when it comes to providing access to justice to its citizens -- and lower than some third-world nations in some categories.

How did the United States deteriorate to such a level that it cannot acknowledge fundamental rights among its citizens? This is also surprising news considering that American society is prone to litigation and lawsuits. It's time for Americans to wake up and demand greater access to legal opportunities so that they can defend themselves adequately in court.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ruby Bridges: The Fight for Educational Equality Continues

Nearly fifty years ago, Ruby Bridges made history by becoming the first African American student to desegregate an all-white public school in the South, chiefly New Orleans. She was escorted by four federal marshalls, as depicted in Norman Rockwell's famous portrait, "The Problem We All Live With." The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which found that "separate but equal" school facilities were unequal and unconstitutional, mandated the racial desegregation of public schools across the country. Today, with educational inequality across race and class still looming, Ruby Bridges wants to continue the fight for educational inequality:
The school that Bridges desegregated so many years ago has since fallen into disrepair, but she wants to reopen it with a focus on teaching social justice and history, and to open a civil rights museum next door. In a city where many of the schools once again have racially homogeneous student bodies, she wants to put a special emphasis on diversity.

Monday, October 25, 2010

WSJ: Are "Robo-Libraries" Part of the Future?

Across the country, vendor machines are appearing where people can borrow DVDs and books at their own convenience. They order them online and pick them up at local vendor machines and kiosks (similar to Netflix and Amazon.com). Libraries save money on labor and expand their reach to communities, especially during off-hours.

However, some librarians worry that these new technologies may fade public libraries out of existence:
Some library directors worry that such machines are the first step toward a future in which the physical library—along with its reference staffs and children's programs—fades from existence. James Lund, director of the Red Wing Public Library in Red Wing, Minn., recently wrote skeptically about the "vending library" in Library Journal, a trade publication.

"The basis of the vending machine is to reduce the library to a public-book locker," Mr. Lund said in an interview. "Our real mission is public education and public education can't be done from a vending machine. It takes educators, it takes people, it takes interaction."

Despite their growing popularity, do you think these "robo-libraries" will replace brick-and-mortar public libraries?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Social Work and Loan Forgiveness Struggles

In the Fall 2010 edition of The New Social Worker, there's an article where social work graduates are struggling to repay their high student loan debt. As tuition continues to rise faster than inflation, graduates are finding themselves in positions where they owe more in loans than what they earn in entry-level salaries.

...“While the amount of educational debt is not confined to a particular segment of the student population, the implications are vastly different for those who choose careers, like social work, in which salaries tend to be lowered....” Further, the report says, “Educational debt has also been blamed for deterring students from public service careers, thus increasing pressures on a workforce already facing shortages.”

This statistic affects graduates from vulnerable populations:
Furthermore, nearly a quarter (21%) described their debt load as “unmanageable.” Those with such debt are more likely to be younger, female, single, and African American (more than Caucasians). Sixty-seven percent of those with unmanageable debt earned less than $49,999 a year, compared with 54% of those with manageable debt.

Meanwhile, doctoral student, Karen Zgoda, posted a list of excellent online social work resources by area of practice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Generation Homeless: Young Adults in the Recession

A new generation of homelessness -- adults between the ages of 18 and 25 -- are facing their worst job prospects since the Great Depression. Poverty rates are rising in the United States. At least two million young adults will face homelessness in the United States. Furthermore, more homeless young adults are coming out of the foster care system.
Unemployment rates are higher among young adults than other age groups. In July, the youth unemployment rate edged over 19 percent, the highest July rate on record since 1948. In 2009, 80 percent of college graduates moved home after finishing school, according to job listing website Collegegrad.com, up from 77 percent in 2008 and 67 percent in 2006. Those without the training and family support of college graduates are hurting even more.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of specialized shelters and services for this demographic. Most people assume 18-24 year old adults go straight to college or postsecondary training. The psychological and development issues can be also be traumatic because this is a period of emerging adulthood.

You can watch the video documentary below:

Generation Homeless: Voices from the Street from Mike Kane on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court's Recent Actions Worries Me

The U.S. Supreme Court has officially opened it session, and the future of human and civil rights policy has me very worried. Melinda Lewis of Classroom to Capitol summarizes my concerns nicely:
# The U.S. Supreme Court is accepting more business-related cases than in previous terms, and siding more with corporate interests, giving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce its greatest winning percentage in decades.

# Several decisions have restricted the reach of environmental legislation, undoing some legislative attempts to address the most concerning aspects of environmental degradation.

# In another pro-corporate set of decisions, the Court opened the door for renewed age and sex discrimination in the workplace, which obviously stands in stark contrast to social work’s fervent opposition to discriminatory practices.

# In the case that bothers me the most, both because of what it suggests about the vulnerability of some of our most vaunted judicial victories and because of the sheer tragedy of it, in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court essentially overturned Brown v. Board of Education, ruling that separate could, in fact, be equal, and that voluntary school desegregation plans, on the other hand, were not.

This is very bad news! All the hard gains in the past 50 years are slowly being reversed by a more conservative judiciary. People need to keep a watchful eye over the Court's rulings this year, especially social workers and information professionals. I fear something major will happen, and it may be too late to rectify it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Census: Record Gap Between Rich and Poor in America

The recent Census report states that there is a record widening gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S.
The top-earning 20 percent of Americans - those making more than $100,000 each year - received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.

This does not look like good news for many Americans, particularly among children and young adults. It's a reality: income inequality is rising, and it will take a while to recover.

Among the 2009 findings in the article:

-The poorest poor are at record highs. The share of Americans below half the poverty line - $10,977 for a family of four - rose from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent. It was the highest level since 1975.

-The poverty gap between young and old has doubled since 2000, due partly to the strength of Social Security in helping buoy Americans 65 and over. Child poverty is now 21 percent compared with 9 percent for older Americans.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So You Want to Be a Librarian?

So you Want to be a librarian. Not sure where to seek advice? I found a good website for you.

Librarian by Day did a fantastic job in compiling various posts and articles about the library profession, degree requirements, job expectations, and core competencies and skills on her blog. This is a major transitional period for library and information science, and prospective students should know their options. If you have any burning library-related questions, then definitely check out her site!

So You Want to be a Librarian? A Guide For Those Considering an MLS, Current Students & Job Seekers

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Web Day 2010 - September 22, 2010

OneWebDay 2010 will be held on Wednesday, September 22 2010. This is a great opportunity for social workers, librarians, information professionals and other technology allies to join together and increase awareness of the importance of maintaining the open-networking principles on the World Wide Web. If you are interested in this event, please spread the word to friends and colleagues!

For the last three years, OneWebDay has attracted a global network of partner organizations and individual activists committed to broadening the public’s awareness of Internet and Web issues while deepening a culture of participation in building a Web that works for everyone. In 2008, OneWebDay organizers documented volunteer-driven events 34 different cities across the world.

OneWebDay 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Highlights for 2nd Year in Grad School

I am finally starting my second year in graduate school. I am excited and ready to start my classes and fieldwork. This fall, I am enrolled full-time in the School of Social Work (Last fall, I spent my first year in the School of Information where I study library and information science.) For newcomers, my social work background is macro practice social work. I do not cover clinical or interpersonal practice. Being an MSW student is significant today because the School of Social Work will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2011. I am proud to witness this tremendous milestone.

I have created several goals that I hope to accomplish:

  • Become more involved in student organizations
  • Focus on fulfilling all degree requirements early
  • Attend professional conferences and campus lectures
  • Live a healthy lifestyle (exercise, sports)
  • Just relax and have fun (non-school activities)

May this be a successful school year for all grad students!

UPDATED (9/8/10): September 8 is International Literacy Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Idealist.org: Grad School Fairs 2010 Schedule

Idealist.org - Action Without Borders is relaunching its annual graduate school fairs across the country. Before I enrolled in graduate school, I attended these fairs for several years. It's a great way to network with different universities and learn many different career pathways (e.g., business, education, international affairs, public health, public policy, social work, etc.) in service of the public good. In the past, I have attended the graduate fairs in Ann Arbor, Chicago and Washington DC. If you are interested in a nonprofit/social sector career where you can have a social impact, I highly recommend attending these fairs in your local area.

Here is the schedule below:

New York, NY - September 16 - (200 schools will be there)
Providence, RI - September 20 - (75 schools)
Boston, MA - September 21 - (180)
Pittsburgh, PA - September 23 - (50)
Philadelphia, PA - September 27 - (65)
Toronto, ON - September 29 - (60)
Washington, DC - September 30 - (200)
Minneapolis, MN - October 18 (70)
Chicago, IL - October 19 (135)
Ann Arbor, MI - October 20 (75)
Denver, CO - October 25 (60)
Seattle, WA - October 27 (80)
Portland, OR - October 28 (80)
San Francisco, CA - November 1 (120)
Los Angeles, CA - November 2 (115)
Atlanta, GA - November 4 (75)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review: Macro Social Work Practice - A Strengths Perspective (2006)

Macro Social Work Practice: A Strengths Perspective (2006) by Dennis Long, Carolyn Tice and John Morrison. The authors define the history of macro social work practice and social welfare and different types of macro-practice roles (e.g., social planner, administrator, evaluator, community organizer, educator, policy analyst, facilitator, program developer, grant/proposal writer, etc.). Furthermore, they highlight the strengths model, which focuses on the assets, innate abilities and optimism of consumers and communities. It is common for many professionals to focus on negativity (e.g., problems and social pathology). A strengths model works with people rather than subordinates them. Each chapter has a summary, review of key terms, case examples, reflection exercises and suggested readings.
Sample chapters:
Ch. 1 Defining Macro Practice
Ch. 2 Adopting a Strengths Perspective in Macro Practice
Ch. 3 Considerations for the Practitioner
Ch. 4 Calling on Consumer and Citizen Strengths
Ch. 5 Enriching Organizational Life
Ch. 6 Developing Community Resources and Capacities
...and much more!

This is one of the best textbooks/handbooks on macro social work practice. It provides an excellent introduction to this area of social work, which is often misunderstood or underrated. As a future macro social worker, it gave me the tools, values and perspectives on work with larger social systems at the community, organizational and societal levels. In addition, there are various types of macro social work practice (e.g., social research, social planning, policy analysis, organizational development, advocacy and social action, and much more!). I highly recommend this book to students, faculty, and practitioners because social justice is one of the core values in the NASW Code of Ethics. In other words, social workers also work to solve community and social problems by working with consumers and gaining allies in the process.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Michigan Girl's Cafe Among Top 50 Blogs for Social Work Professionals

Breaking news! My blog is ranked #15 among the Top 50 Blogs for Social Work Professionals by MSW Programs.com, which provides comprehensive coverage to accredited social work programs and careers in the United States.
15. Michigan Girl’s Cafe. A graduate of the University of Michigan provides guidance to aspiring social workers and provides helpful links to show how a degree in social work can be used.

This is truly an honor. Nearly 18 months later, my efforts are finally paying off. Please spread the word to your colleagues and continue to support this website!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Libraries vs. Google

On InsideHigherEd, Barbara Fisher explains how libraries and Google are similar and different. Some people wonder whether Google will take over the role of librarians. I believe this comparison is excellent because it shows how both have different ways in connecting people with information. Click on the link below to read the differences.

Ways libraries are like Google
  • Both have as their mission to organize and make the world's information accessible.
  • Both make it possible to get digital information no matter where you are and even if you're still in your jammies.
  • Both have books, articles, videos, music, images, and other materials from all time periods.
  • Both offer tools to help you focus and narrow a search that most users ignore.
  • Both have blogs.
  • Both experiment with new technologies.
  • Both launch uber-cool technologies that, it turns out, nobody actually wants.
  • Both can be a huge time saver and a huge time waster, often on the very same day.
  • Both have good information and lots of information that is outdated, useless, incorrect, and biased.
Ways libraries are not like Google

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: The Road Not Taken - A History of Radical Social Work in the United States (2001)

The Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the United States, by Michael Reisch and Janice Andrews, traces the history of radical social work during the twentieth century. Three factors contributed to its downfall: the blacklisting of social work intellectuals (e.g., Jane Addams, Florence Kelly, Marion Hathaway, Bertha Reynolds) under anti-Communism, the professionalization of social work, the marginalization of social and political action, the rise of conservatism in the 1980s, and the growing emphasis on material wealth and status. This book is an important contribution to social work because future generations of social workers will understand that their previous generations made many sacrifices to openly address social and economic issues that were not mainstream.

I highly recommend this book to all social work students, faculty and practitioners, especially in macro practice. It opened my mind to the truth, the feelings that bothered me ever since I entered graduate study in social work: Why is the field today more clinical-oriented rather than social action-oriented? How did earlier social workers get involved in social movements? What were the consequences of their actions and its effects on national social welfare policy? This book addresses those questions and the decline of radical social work since the 1970s. Nationwide, families' safety nets are gradually disappearing today; social workers should rise up and promote social and economic justice. The voices of the past, who risked their lives and careers against larger forces, shall not be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ogletree: Importance of Diversity in Libraries

Honorary Spectrum Co-Chair Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School answers questions from an American Libraries reporter about the value of libraries in his upbringing and why diversity is more important than ever in libraries.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

WIll the Middle Class Become Extinct?

The New York Daily News has an article about the future of the middle class. As a future social worker, it worries me that as more Americans cannot find work, they will fall behind on their bills, lose their valuables, and eventually become impoverished.
The middle class in America may soon have no pulse at all. Although the U.S. once had the biggest, richest middle class ever, fundamental changes in how giant corporations hire workers mean that the rich are not only getting richer, but everyone else is having to scrimp, save and compete with Third World laborers for work, according to The Business Insider as reported on Yahoo.com.

The United States once had a vibrant middle-class that rivaled other nations. Now, the gap between the rich and poor has widened to such an extent that the middle class is feeling the pinch very hard.
For the first time ever in the history of this country, banks own a greater share of the residential housing network in America than all individual Americans combined...How are former middle-class workers getting by? For the first time in the history of this country, more than 40% of Americans are getting food stamps. And 21% of all children in America are living below the poverty line this year – the highest rate in two decades.

The poverty rate in America will continue to increase unless there are changes in social and economic policies that reverses the damage and promotes social equity.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ALA: Library computers essential for those trying to get new jobs

In this national economic downturn, more people than ever are utilizing their local public libraries to find employment information and apply for jobs electronically. Poverty and the digital divide are real, yet states are cutting back funding in these crucial areas. Public libraries are at the forefront by providing greater access to information and educating patrons on how to become more informed citizens.

A sampling of findings from the American Library Association study of Public Library Funding and Technology Access reveals the following:

# 99 percent of public libraries offer free access to computers.
# Public computer and Wi-Fi use was up last year for more than 70 percent of all libraries.
# 89 percent of libraries provide technology training, including classes in computer skills, software use and online job-seeking.
# Most libraries offer Internet services ranging from subscription databases (95 percent) to online homework resources (88 percent).
# 66 percent of libraries provide assistance to patrons completing government forms.
# 76 percent of libraries report public use of Internet computers increased in 2009.
# 88 percent of libraries provide access to job databases and other job opportunity resources.
# 15 percent of all libraries report decreased hours of operation and 56 percent report flat or decreased operating budgets in fiscal 2010.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

danah boyd: Information Literacy and Engaged Citizenry

The New America Foundation recently published an article, "Community Media and Information Literacy in the Digital Age," that ties in nicely with community informatics and the importance of information literacy. The digital divide is not only about access to information, but it also includes an interpretation of information:
boyd argued that people need access to multiple interpretations of information and the training required to contextualize. She concluded her talk with a call to action, saying that while information is power, interpretation is even more powerful and government transparency is not enough. The facts do not always speak for themselves, after all.

Therefore, as boyd explains, government transparency is only one part of the equation. Literacy through engagement is often the catalyst that brings private citizens into public life. However, information literacy is still reserved for the privileged few.

I love this quote because it speaks to the heart of why intellectual freedom and democracy are so important today. If we want to reduce the digital divide among underserved populations, we must reach out and educate these communities on how to evaluate their resources. Then, these communities become engaged citizens who can more accurately interpret the world around them. Otherwise, we can only committing information overload.

UPDATE (9/16/2010): Librarian by Day has a similar post on how librarians play a vital role in 21st century literacies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Francis Perkins and Social Security

The Francis Perkins Center launched a website, Social Security Stories, about the origins and legacy of the Social Security Act of 1935. It provided benefits to retirees, the disabled and the unemployed. She accomplished a lasting legacy in the history of social welfare.

Francis Perkins was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. She completed her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke College and graduate work (economics and sociology) at Columbia University. In her work experiences, she visited settlement houses and engaged in progressive causes. She advocated vigorously for better labor conditions In the U.S. Cabinet, she played a key role in drafting landmark New Deal legislation, such as social security, child labor regulation, minimum wage laws, and unemployment insurance. In 1980, the Francis Perkins Building (Department of Labor headquarters) was commemorated in her honor.

Since the 1930s, Social Security has gradually moved toward universal coverage. Changes in Social Security have reflected a balance between promoting equality and efforts to provide adequate protection. This includes underserved populations, such as the disabled and minority groups.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Death of Library Schools?

There is a very interesting discussion on the blog thread, "The Death of Library Schools" by Will Manley. So far, there are 162 posts on the topic.
These are very dark days in the library world. Skilled and experienced librarians are being terminated, unqualified people are now staffing public service desks (where public service desks still exist), and reference services are being surrendered to Google.

If our profession is going to survive, we need strong library schools. If the library schools die, the profession will die. If the profession dies, libraries will die.

What are your feelings on the future of library schools? Is the iSchool movement the future or should traditional library schools stay intact? Should there be more emphasis on vocational training or a liberal arts education?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LATimes: Op-Ed on U.S. Public Libraries

The Los Angeles Times has an op-ed about the decline of school and public libraries in the United States. The bad economy has forced many school districts and local governments cut back in funding. Librarians and other service-oriented professions are among the first to receive pink-slips and shutdowns. This is sad news when such services are most critical for needy children and families:
The U.S. is beginning an interesting experiment in democracy: We're cutting public library funds, shrinking our public and school libraries, and in some places, shutting them altogether...

Libraries are an essential service in action, as well as an effective leveler of privilege and avenue of reinvention. As budget cuts affect more facilities, children will be the first to suffer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Future of U.S. Education Looks Bleak

If you have any interest in K-12 education, then I recommend this three-part series based on the book, Education and the Crisis of Public Values, to be published by Peter Lang Publishing Group. Although I am not enrolled in an education graduate program, I have been following the trends closely. Education was an area I studied in my undergraduate days. It is hard to believe that teaching was once a respected profession, but it is slowly eroding as external influences determine how and what children should learn. Sometimes, I wonder what will happen to the future of education in the United States. Right now, it looks very bleak.
Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation. - In Defense of Public School Teachers in a Time of Crisis

  • Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform (Part I)

  • Teachers Without Jobs and Education Without Hope: Beyond Bailouts and the Fetish of the Measurement Trap (Part 2)

  • Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan's Corporate-Based Schools Can't Deliver an Education That Matters (Part 3)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Forbes: Worst Master's Degrees List

Last month, Forbes ranked the best and worst master's degrees. The magazine considered job growth and mid-career earnings. It received a lot of attention and backlash due to incorrect facts and figures (for instance, Payscale data is very misleading). It also just happens that my favorite fields (social work, library science, and education) were listed among the worst category.

Here are my thoughts: Although I am very disappointed with the list, I do not take it seriously. I have no regrets in my choice of fields. I am learning analytical and leadership skills in my graduate program. Not everyone can become a scientist or physician assistant. Payscale figures are also not credible because it doesn't take into account a person's practice area. Social work and library science are very diverse fields; the practice area can lead to different salary levels. The list is also discriminatory because women disproportionately attain most of the "worst degrees."

The bottom line is focus on what interests you, excel in the subject, and your career will take off from there. Don't listen to dubious rankings that adopt arbitrary data. I love this comment because it reveals why society needs librarians:
Forbes should have asked someone with a Master's degree in Library & Information Science about the difference between nurses and PAs. This is what happens when information professionals are devalued in our society.

[UPDATE] In 2012, Forbes revisited this list with their ranking of best and worst master's degrees for jobs. It removed social work from the list (woo-hoo!), but library and information science still remains on the list for worst master's degrees.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Obama's Next Task: Reading and Childhood Obesity

First Lady Michelle Obama launched the "Let's Move, Let's Read" program to encourage children to exercise, eat healthy, and read during the summer vacation. It is part of her national campaign against childhood obesity and reading loss. She wants children to read at least five books during the months they are not in school.

However, there are several flaws to her plan because it does not address funding for public libraries in high-poverty areas which are disproportionately urban and rural. Most school children will rent books from their local libraries, yet state governments nationwide continue to cut funding towards public libraries. During this economic recession, more people are flocking to public libraries than ever for educational, employment, and recreational purposes. The first lady should advocate for public libraries if she wants her campaign to be successful.

Be A Social Worker!

I found this website, BeASocialWorker.org, where prospective students can learn more about the profession. It includes topics such as code of ethics, professional standards, and education and licensing requirements. The site also lists ten areas you can use your social work degree: seniors and aging; children and families; health and wellness; mental health; private practice; education and research; advocacy and legislation; corporations and nonprofit organizations; military and veterans; and community organizing. (my favorite areas are emphasized in bold text)

I took the quiz, What Type of Social Worker Will You Be?, and my top score was management and administration followed by education and research. If you are a macro social worker looking for nonprofit leadership positions, a Kansas social work professor posted a list of excellent links.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Social Work and Dual Degree Programs

The Social Work Today newsletter released this article in its September/October 2009 issue. After completing my first year in a dual-degree program, I should discuss this popular topic: Should you pursue a dual-degree in social work and another discipline?

The article does an excellent job laying out the facts, arguments, and research. It also lists samples of institutions that provide dual-degree programs in social work and another discipline.
...having only a social work degree is not enough to obtain a fulfilling job. Faced with an increasingly competitive job market tightened further by the economic recession, many social workers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack to secure the positions they want. And, for some social work students, the way to stand out in the crowd is by completing a dual degree program. These programs allow students to pursue an MSW and a degree in another discipline in parallel, making it possible for students to earn the degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately.

Dual degrees aren’t new in social work, but they are attracting more attention from universities and students adapting to the profession’s increasingly interdisciplinary nature.

Nevertheless, there are drawbacks. I caution people to only pursue dual-degrees if you are passionate about both fields. In other words, pursue the dual-degree only if it is absolutely necessary for your future career goals. It is a major endeavor mentally and financially (It can take an additional year to finish, and you won't graduate with your incoming cohort). There can also be a sense of isolation if there are only few people who share your academic interests (I discovered my other interests -- library and information science -- makes me very unique among my peers).
Despite the benefits of a dual degree, the programs are not for everyone. In fact, they often come with major obstacles that turn off some students. The primary obstacle is that the investment of time and money needed to complete a dual degree program—though less than that needed to earn two degrees separately—is significantly larger than that needed to get an MSW alone.

The good news is that dual-degree students, on average, receive higher earnings and have more access to management positions after graduation. The bottom line is that one should do careful, thorough research before they apply to multiple disciplines. Figure out where your interests intersect and decide whether another degree makes sense. Otherwise, just stick with the MSW degree.
However, a 2008 study (Miller, Hopkins, & Greif) suggests that a dual degree can speed the advancement of a social worker’s career. Forty-two percent of the 72 dual degree graduates who participated in the study reported that they were hired into management positions for their first job after graduation. The authors also found that the mean salaries of the dual degree graduates ($60,000) were higher than the National Association of Social Workers’ published mean for all social workers ($47,200).

[UPDATE 09/2012]: I will complete a dual-master's degree in higher education and social work at the University of Michigan in 2013.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering Dorothy Height

Last month, a renowned civil rights leader passed away. Dorothy Height (1912-2010) was an African-American educator, social worker, and social activist. She died at the age of 98.
On April 20, 2010, the nation lost one of the foremost leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and the social work profession—Dr. Dorothy I. Height. Dr. Height was a renowned civil rights leader and a vital force in the struggle for human rights and equality in the United States for more than half a century. Her tireless efforts on behalf of others exemplified the social work commitment to social justice and advocacy. In 2009, the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act—the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation addressing social work workforce challenges—was introduced into Congress. Dr. Height is the recipient of NASW’s 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, and her legacy was celebrated in April by the social work profession during the 2010 Social Work Congress.

The NASW President also wrote a tribute that celebrates her achievements. You can learn more about her life by watching this video.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NACS: Students Still Like Printed Textbooks

This news does not surprise me at all. In fact, I am one of those students who still prefers printed textbooks.
Many experts are predicting that students are about to embrace e-books as a preferred form of textbooks. But a newly released survey from the National Association of College Stores -- conducted last fall, before the arrival of the iPad -- suggests that the shift had not happened by that point. Rather it found that 74 percent of students preferred printed textbooks and that a slight majority wouldn't consider a digital version. The survey is based on data from 19 campuses nationwide

When I began graduate school, the transition hit me hard. I only graduated a few years ago, yet most of my classes were doing away with coursepacks and printed textbooks. If I wanted to access required articles, I had to download and print them. When it comes to nonfiction, I always prefer the printed version. I cannot read something from a screen. I like to turn pages and mark notes on the margins. It takes time for a new innovation to become ingrained in the college culture. More importantly, students are unlikely to change when the old system works without problems.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Freep: Woman Proves College Is Possible for Foster Kids

Last week, this story was published in the Detroit Free Press.
Cherish Thomas, 22, born to a drug-addicted prostitute, was in 20 foster homes before attending the University of Michigan, where she earned a degree in sociology and African-American studies. Now a graduate student there, she plans to tell her story today to more than 100 foster care youths at "Rising Above the Odds Against Me," a conference at Oakland University designed to help steer them toward college.

Although I do not personally know Cherish, I admire her tenacity and confidence to overcome tremendous childhood struggles. While she could have been another foster care statistic, she is now pursuing her Master of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Michigan.

Here is another inspirational story of grads across Michigan:
How Grads Defied Odds to Earn Degrees, Excel

These stories should remind all of us that people can excel if they believe in themselves.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

First Year in Review: I Like Library Science!

It is still hard to believe my first year in graduate school is over. When I first began my dual-degree program last fall, I did not know what to expect in the School of Information. I did not have much exposure to the different specializations prior to enrollment (besides admiring museums and libraries!). In hindsight, I knew I wanted to connect people, information, and technology in better ways.

Almost a year later, I will pursue the library and information science specialization. I have enjoyed my courses in the specialization. It also relates to social work because it promotes service and outreach. In other words, it brightens my day when I can help someone find information they need. I am constantly browsing library journals, blogs, forums regarding reference, instruction, and much more. Wherever fate takes me, I believe my degree will provide me with flexible and marketable skills.

Furthermore, I have become extremely interested in the study of education among college students and adult learners. Based on my prior assignments, I find this population very exciting to study and may continue my education beyond the master's degree in the future. Overall, I am an education-library science-social work geek!

I found this video that highlights the responsibilities of librarians. Although most librarians work in public and academic settings, some work in special libraries and information centers (corporate, medical, law, etc.).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

San Francisco Public Library Hires First Social Worker

I have recently returned from a library conference in Chicago, and discovered from other attendees that the San Francisco Public Library has hired a full-time social worker to resolve the homeless problem.

In many ways, its popularity as a homeless hangout is no surprise because the library is centrally located, free, open to anyone, doesn't have security checks and has plenty of bathrooms. But the library has, well, begun to turn the page on the problem by hiring what is believed to be the country's first full-time psychiatric social worker stationed in a public library.

In a partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the library hired Leah Esguerra a year ago this month, and she now has directed into social services more than 150 homeless people and others living on the edge in low-cost residential hotels who frequent the library.

This is a very interesting transition. The social worker also teaches the librarians what to do if they witness unpleasant behavior and supervises "health and safety associates" - formerly homeless people who take part in a 12-week vocational rehabilitation program and then become employed by the library.

Do you think libraries nationwide should adopt this approach?

Monday, April 26, 2010

U.S. News Rankings 2010 - No Changes

There are no changes to the Social Work and Library and Information Science categories in the U.S. News Best Graduate School 2010 Rankings. However, I noticed my undergraduate alma mater ranks #8 in the Best Education Schools category. Go SESP!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Article: From Social Worker to Librarian

Here is another story from the North Jefferson News about a former social worker who changed career paths to pursue public librarianship.
Robertson was a social worker before she got her master’s degree in library science.

“You put a lot of heart and soul into a job like that, and it’s easy to burn out. I loved what I did, but I wanted a career change,” she said. Robertson said there was opportunity for social work in her library job as well.

“People come in here and they want help with resumes, and finding jobs, they can’t find their books, they need to get something for their kids... The library is a place where the community can come and all share the same resources,” she said.

Her social work background have many transferable skills: working with people and providing services and resources.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Annoyed Librarian: Librarians Are Like Social Workers

The title may sound far-fetch, but a growing number of librarians, especially in rural and urban public settings, are realizing their job responsibilities are becoming more similar to the role of social workers. As a dual-degree student in both areas, I find this discussion very interesting. In a way, social work and library science are related in the field of education. Both promote service and helping people.

One of the readers' comments:
"And that's not uncommon. Most libraries today are getting social service tasks dumped on them with no training, funding, or staffing to handle it. Of course, it would be better to have a separate facility to handle the homeless and the latchkey kids, since they have driven out anybody wanting to use the library for its intended purpose, but that would involve effort."

Do you agree with this statement? Should library schools adopt social work skills and training in their curriculum?

Here is another situation regarding employment:
"I don't really think many people think of librarians as government employees,'' he said. "I think they think of librarians as members of a helping profession, like teachers.''

Some colleagues, he said, lament the "good old days," when the job was more about helping people find great literary works than navigating technology and applying for government aid.

Other librarians have embraced their new roles:
Edina, Minn. — The combination of a recession and changes to the typical job application process has made some local librarians into self-described social workers.

Many companies nowadays require job seekers to fill out online applications, which may be tough for people who don't know much about using the Web, or don't have access to it. Many job seekers are turning to their local librarians for help.

"It's like the new normal to have social work be part of being a librarian," said Kim Poole, a librarian at Hennepin County's Southdale Library in Edina. "Sometimes as a librarian you feel like you're throwing out a life preserver to a person ... they are often at the edge of an abyss."

Rhodarian and YALSA also discuss this issue.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

InsideHigherEd: Eroding Library Role?

From InsideHigherEd, libraries must find ways to sustain relationships with university departments, or their own roles as intermediaries to information will decline and vanish.
If libraries do not seriously rethink their role in the lives of researchers, they could come to be seen more as resource purchasers than as research collaborators, according to a report released today by the nonprofit group Ithaka S+R.

“As scholars have grown better able to reach needed materials directly online, the library has been increasingly disintermediated from research processes,” write the authors of the report, which is based on a national survey of professors administered last year.

“The declining visibility and importance of traditional roles for the library and librarian may lead to the faculty primarily perceiving the library as a budget line, rather than an active intellectual partner,” they later add.

More people are using search engines, such as Google, as their first and primary search tool for searching information. Institutional universities may need to re-evaluate their websites and services in order to engage faculty and students more effectively. Nevertheless, librarians are participating in more outreach and collaboration with different units across campus.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Video: History of the Library of Alexandria

In honor of National Library Week, I posted the first two clips of the History Channel's History of the Alexandria Library. History, sociology, and geography were my favorite subjects growing up, and I wanted people know that the history of libraries and archives goes back many centuries. Altogether there are 5 clips; please make sure you view the last three clips.

Part 1

Part 2

Don't forget to view clips 3, 4, and 5!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Library Week 2010 - Communities Thrive @ Your Library

April is National Library Week. It is observed each year in April, generally the second full week. This year's theme is related to my interests in community outreach!
Libraries are the heart of their communities. National Library Week 2010 (April 11-17) will be celebrated with the theme, "Communities thrive @ your library."

This year's theme will focus on the following topics:

  1. Libraries as community cultural centers
  2. Libraries help communities thrive in tough times
  3. Diverse communities thrive @ your library

For more information check out the National Library Week Fact Sheet.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chronicle: Librarians Answer Reference Questions with Text Messages

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, academic libraries are gradually adopting new technologies to answer students' reference questions.

For a student who doesn't want to swing by the reference desk, there are plenty of other ways to ask a librarian a question—instant messaging, e-mail, a phone call. And now, on a growing number of campuses, students can ask questions with text messages.


Students text a question to an advertised number during library hours, and an alert appears on the computer screen of any librarian who is signed into the library's instant-messaging service. The librarian uses the computer to send a text message back to the student's cellphone.

I find this very fascinating. As more libraries become accustomed to the use of instant messaging software such as meebo, cell phone communication is the next step in enhancing outreach to users' information needs. It makes library services more accessible and valuable to the community.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DetNews: In Tough Economy, U-M Builds

The Detroit News has an article about Michigan's two largest public universities (University of Michigan and Michigan State University). Although they have similar population sizes and are only 60 miles apart, U-M is booming while MSU is facing budget cuts.

Instead of laying off staff, the Ann Arbor campus is hiring faculty. The university is in the midst of a $30 million effort to add 100 instructors to broaden its interdisciplinary studies program, on top of normal hiring.

Because U-M's historic competitors for faculty nationwide -- Harvard, Stanford and the University of California at Berkley, for example -- are not hiring, it has been able to scoop up more of its first choices for faculty.


Meanwhile, the sounds of construction echo across the sprawling campus. Nine major buildings have been completed recently or are under construction, with five more prepared to break ground. Coupled with the $108 million purchase of the 30-building, 174-acre former research site of Pfizer Inc., it's one of the biggest building booms in school history, totaling more than $1.7 billion and adding or renovating 17 million square feet.

The growing budget gap -- Michigan spent $34,000 per student in 2009 while MSU spent $20,000 per student -- is the result of several factors: endowment (U-M's endowment is $6 billion), percentage of out-of-state studnets (U-M has more), and fundraising (U-M is able to raise more money from loyal donors and alumni).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sweet Victoriy for Evanston Public Library Branches

From the Library Journal (3/2/2010):

Citizens must come up with funds after six months
Two part-time branches will cost $164,000
BranchLove formed to organize volunteers, fundraising

I am very pleased that the citizens of Evanston were able to save the only two library branches from permanent closure. I have fond memories of the city when I lived there for my undergraduate studies. Although I spent most of my time at the main branch of the Evanston Public Library, I was shocked to learn about budget deficits affecting the city. Libraries serve a wide range of community roles -- preserver of local knowledge, disseminator of information, and promoter of democratic values. This is an excellent example of community mobilization and participation for local institutions! I hope the citizens can raise enough money by the September 1 deadline.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

World Social Work Day 2010

On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, we extend to you our appreciation for the tremendous work you do in effecting change and improving lives around the world.

This year’s World Social Work Day theme, “Making Human Rights Real: The Social Work Agenda,” celebrates your achievements in the field of human rights while highlighting the challenges that lay ahead.

Social work is worth celebrating. Happy World Social Work Day.

With much appreciation,

James J. Kelly, PhD, ACSW
President, NASW

Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH
Executive Director, NASW

On March 17, the House of Representatives passed the Professional Social Work Month and World Social Work Day Resolution honoring social workers by a vote of 419-0.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review: More Days in the Lives of Social Workers - 35 "Real-Life" Stories of Advocacy, Outreach, and Other Intriguing Roles in Social Work Practice (2005)

Is this social work? This easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down book will make a welcome supplement to the theory found in traditional textbooks. Find out how social work managers and practitioner put theory into practice on a day-to-day basis.

More Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 35 "Real-Life" Stories of Advocacy, Outreach, and Other Intriguing Roles in Social Work Practice, edited by Linda May Grobman. Her series includes first-person narratives from proefssional trained social workers (BSW, MSW, and PhD) in everyday practice. Social work is so flexible that it offers a variety of career pathways. Organizations, websites, and additional readings are available in the appendix section.

I was very satisfied to learn this book focused on macro-level topics such as, research, policymaking, outreach, and program development. One of my favorite quotes from the book focuses on working within nonprofits: "I am gaining experience in project management, media relations, advocacy, fundraising, coalition building, grassroots organizing, community education, pubilc speaking, nonprofit management, and office administration." Organizations, websites, and additional readings are also available in the apprendix section.

I highly recommend this book to all clinical and macro practice social work students and professionals. Macro-practice students would definitely benefit from this invaluable resource. In fact, I will purchae this book for my library collection. The book contains real-life stories about:

  • working on a national level
  • program development and management
  • advocacy and organizing
  • policy from the inside
  • training and consultation
  • research and funding
  • higher education

  • court system
  • faith and spirituality
  • domestic violence
  • therapy and case management
  • employment and hunger

[UPDATE]: The fourth edition has been released in 2012. It includes four new chapters, a new appendix on social media and mobile apps, and features a foreword by Elizabeth J. Clark, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. There are at least 12 chapters covering macro practice fields in management, higher education, working with communities, and international social work).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Video: History of Social Work

Since it's Social Work Month, I thought it was essential for visitors to learn the history of social welfare. I thought this video did an excellent job highlighting the important policies and achievements in the last 500 years.

Other Resources:

History of Social Work Fact Sheet (NASW)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review: Days in the Lives of Social Workers (1996)

Did you ever wish you could tag along with a professional in your chosen field, just for a day, observing his or her life? Join them on their journeys, and learn about the rewards and challenges they face.

Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 41 Professional Tell "Real-Life" Stories from Social Work Practice, edited by Linda May Grobman, LSW, ACSW. She is the founder, publisher, and editor of The New Social Worker, a quarterly news magazine and forum for social work students and recent graduates. Her book is a great resource for prospective and current social work students who are researching their niche and who are exploring real-life stories from the field. Each chapter contains narratives from real-life practitioners in different areas of social work.

Social work is a flexible and broad field, and this book clears up any misconceptions you may have about the profession. It also contains a list of organizations and recommended journal articles by specialty. My favorite chapters were employee assistance programs, management, and community practice. I have a better understanding of the working conditions and competencies in those areas.

However, I was very disappointed at the lack of macro-level topics. Most of the chapters focus on clinical-level and direct practice experiences. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this edition to clinical and interpersonal practice students.

It covers the following twelve settings and roles:

  • health care
  • school social work
  • children and families at home and at work
  • disabilities
  • mental health
  • private practice
  • criminal justice
  • older adults and the end of life

  • management
  • higher education
  • working in communities
Check out the latest fourth edition of this book which covers 58 professionals in a myriad of practice settings, an appendix on social media and mobile apps, and a foreward by the Elizabeth Clark, (former) president of the National Association of Social Workers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Social Work Month Theme 2010

The official 2010 Social Work Month theme is “Social Workers Inspire Community Action.” NASW has toolkit materials for students and professionals to educate their local communities.
This year’s Social Work Month celebration showcases the expertise and dedication of professional social workers in helping to improve community life. We will promote the chosen theme “Social Workers Inspire Community Action” through three core strategies of the ongoing National Social Work Public Education Campaign:

- Consumer Education
- Entertainment Outreach
- Student Recruitment

This is a current fact sheet about the social work field: Who are Social Workers?

If are new to the profession, take this opportunity to learn more about social work!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grad Students and LinkedIn Accounts

I finally made the jump and created a LinkedIn account. I'm not sure what effect it will have on my grad school life, but I am beginning to see the benefits. So what is Linkedin?

It is a professional social networking site that enables you to connect with people around the world. It helps you create a profile, make connections, get recommendations, and build a network. It is an online summary of a resume, and colleagues and recruiters can quickly glance your professional background and accomplishments. The mission of LinkedIn is "to help you be more effective in your daily work and open doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have." In sum, it demonstrates your ability to connect with people and use technology to your advantage.

Here are some tips to build your own profile effectively. Guy Kawasaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad author) also lists ten ways to enhance the value of your profile.

Graduated recently from college? Currently enrolled in graduate school? Get started now.

I will update more about this feature in the future.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Economy in SE Michigan

The economy in 2010 will continue to worsen as long as people continue to lose their jobs, homes, and unemployment benefits. Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates and the situation may become dire if help is not on the way. Nonprofit organizations are feeling the pinch as needs (demand) increase but few resources are available (supply). Here are a few articles that describes the situation:

Rising from the wreckage: A story of survival (Freep)
Shrinking budgets to force deep cuts for communities (Freep)
How do we prepare our kids for jobs, future? (Freep)
150,000 at risk of losing their heat (Freep)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Support Idealist.org

Idealist.org, the premier online nonprofit job and internship resources, is experiencing financial difficulties. The bad economy has affected their overall earned income. It needs your help to recover during these tough times. Please take this opportunity to donate so that they can continue to serve vital programs and services. Without Idealist, there would be no national graduate school fairs nor a site that provides comprehensive listings on jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector. It would be a HUGE loss for everyone if Idealist closes its doors.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going to NYC!

It's official. I am going to New York City for spring break!

I am volunteering at a prominent nonprofit organization that strives to expand business opportunities for women. They focus on diversity, leadership, and organizational change. I am excited to return to NYC. This should be an exciting opportunity for me to network with professionals and learn more about careers in specialized information centers. I knew since I began my graduate studies that I will have a non-traditional librarian/social work path. This internship should also relate to my interests in nonprofit management.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update: Closing of U-M Social Work Library

In December 2009, the University of Michigan officially closed the Social Work Library. It was one of the unfortunate specialized library branches that closed across campus due to low demand and budget costs. All graduate students must visit the main libraries to check out and return books. I still use the former library space in the School of Social Work to check my email or type a paper, but it feels very empty because the bookshelves are no longer available there. The hours have also been cut back an hour there. I do not know what will become the new layout for the former library.

Click below for more information about the library closing:


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ways to Help the People in Haiti

I found this video by Patti Austin on Larry King Live, and I thought the song was appropriate for this unfortunate disaster. Please do everything you can to help the people in Haiti. There are various aid organizations, such as the American Red Cross, where you can donate so that adequate number of supplies can reach there in this time of crisis.

Open your heart. Do the moral thing to help these people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

InsideHigherEd: Technology and Learning

For those who are interested in careers in educational technology, digital librarianship, or technology in social work, InsideHigherEd has a blog series, Technology and Learning, that includes opinions and articles from professionals in the field. It's a great way to keep current with new information and learn from the experts.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is approaching. Are you planning to engage in some type of service or attend events related to his social and economic justice?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Update: What's New for 2010

Happy New Year! It is officially my second semester in graduate school. For those who are new to my blog, I am a current graduate student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I am studying social work and information science.

In social work, I cover macro practice topics in administration, policy, organizing, program planning, technology, and evaluation in communities and organizations. I do not address clinical or interpersonal practice issues. I am also not a traditional library science student, but I recognize the information theory and skills are very applicable to a variety of administrative careers. It is a very unique combination!

- Book Reviews: I plan to begin a book review series about careers and topics in macro social work and information science. I have officially completed a semester of graduate school, therefore I feel qualified to educate and share information about the field(s).

- Specializations: I have narrowed down my academic interests to library and information services and macro social work practice (non-profit management and community development). Both fields share similar skills and competencies: helping people with their information needs and providing important programs and services to communities.

- Travel: I hope to engage in more academic-related travel this year. Last semester, I had the opportunity to attend a social work conference in Indiana. It was a great learning experience. Other travel opportunities will include volunteer service.

- Internships: Since I have completed one semester, I am eligible for credit-based internship opportunities. I want to learn and apply my skills in nonprofit organizations.

In sum, I like researching information on macro-level social issues!

Overall, I hope everyone has a good and healthy start this year!