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.