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

 NEW! 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.

Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 58 Professionals Tell Real-Life Stories From Social Work Practice (4th Edition)

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!