Friday, May 27, 2011

Career Advice: 11 Lessons for Recent Graduates

For the Class of 2011, graduation is on the horizon. I found this link on LinkedIn, which contains excellent career advice for recent graduates. I think it opened my eyes to who I am and what I would like to become. It is based on the book, "The Seed," by John Gordon.

1. You are here for a reason. The most important thing you can do in life is to find, live and share your purpose. If you don't pursue it, everything else is meaningless.

2. Follow your passion. It so often leads you to your purpose.

3. It's OK if you don't know what your passion is right now. Make it your life's mission to find it, live it and share it. Seek out jobs and experiences that allow you to use your strengths and gifts, to uncover your passion.

4. Beware of hobbies. Just because you love spending time on Facebook doesn't mean you would enjoy working for the company. And just because you love to cook doesn't mean you would enjoy owning a restaurant.

5. Quit for the right reasons. Not because work is hard or you're experiencing challenges. Quit because in your heart you know there is something else for you to do.

6. Learn from every job and experience. Every job, good or bad, prepares you for the work you were born to do.

7. Whatever job(s) you take after graduation, simply decide to serve. When you serve in small ways you'll get more opportunities to serve in bigger ways.

8. Your dream job is likely not the one you dreamed about. So often we end up in amazing careers that have nothing to do with our college degree or childhood dreams.

9. The quest for your purpose will not follow a straight line. There will be mystery, signs, obstacles, victories, dead ends, delays and detours.

10. Don't rush the future. Seeds must go through a process in order to become all they are destined to become; you must go through a process to become the person you are meant to be and do the work you are meant to do. Most likely if you were to get what you want NOW, you are not ready for it.

11. Be the seed. Seeds surrender themselves to the ground so they can be used for a greater purpose. Wherever you work, decide to plant yourself and allow yourself to be used for a greater purpose. You will grow into the person you were born to be and produce a harvest that will benefit others and change the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Support School Broadband

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has developed a broadband availability map and search engine as part of a collaborative effort with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This education-focused broadband map and database builds upon the NTIA State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) Program that surveys bi-annually broadband availability and connectivity for the 50 United States, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia. For more information about it, please visit data.ed.gov.

Why should you support school broadband availability? The DOE states:
With broadband, students and teachers can expand instruction beyond the confines of the physical classroom and traditional school day. Broadband can also provide more customized learning opportunities for students to access high-quality, low-cost and personally relevant educational material. Broadband can improve the flow of educational information, allowing teachers, parents and organizations to make better decisions tied to each student’s needs and abilities. Improved information flow can also make educational product and service markets more competitive by allowing school districts and other organizations to develop or purchase higher-quality educational products and services.

Monday, May 16, 2011

NASW: Social Work Is the Profession of Hope

National Association of Social Workers Executive Director Betsy Clark talked about the valuable services social workers offer society during an interview on the Anita Estell Radio Show (To hear the full interview click here).

Social workers help people in all walks of society, including children, the elderly and veterans, Clark told Estell, who is an attorney, lobbyist, and columnist. They are especially needed in these troubled economic times and to serve soldiers returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Clark said.

Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, also stressed the importance of Congress passing the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act. That bill among other things would create a commission to develop a long-term strategy to maximize services social workers provide clients.

“I really believe social work is the profession of hope,” Clark said at the end of the interview. “And I think what social workers do is to help people reframe their hopes when they are facing broken hopes.”

Monday, May 9, 2011

Today is National Library Legislative Day

Contact your elected officials on National Library Legislative Day!

Libraries are increasingly essential in these tough economic times. People are flocking to our nation’s libraries for job and career information, small business research and e-government services as well as support for formal and informal education and lifelong learning. Congress made across-the-board cuts to federal programs in its FY2011 budget, and libraries fill the gaps made when other agencies and services. Unfortunately, libraries are also receiving federal budget cuts.

Even if you can’t make it Washington for National Library Legislative Day on May 9, you can join us by contacting your representatives and senators during Virtual Legislative Day.

Please contact your elected officials with the following requests:

APPROPRIATIONS FY2012

  • Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $232 million, the level last authorized in December 2010;
  • Preserve the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program with its own budget line and appropriate the program at its FY2010 level of $19.1 million;
  • Maintain funding for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch at $2.9 million in order to preserve publication of “Statistical Abstracts” and other publications;
  • Fund the Salaries and Expenses work of the Government Printing Office (GPO) at $42,173,000 to preserve public access through the FDLP and FedSYS.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (School Libraries):

  • Support student performance by including an effective school library program as part of ESEA through the LEARN Act to include:
  • A school library staffed by a state-certified school librarian;
  • A school library with up-to-date books, materials, equipment, and technology, including broadband connectivity; and
  • Instruction by librarians for students and staff on digital and computer literacy skills, including collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to develop and implement the curriculum and other school reforms.

While these issues are the most urgent at this time, there are many other critical pieces of legislation impacting libraries. For full list of key issues that will be discussed at National Library Legislative Day, click here. ALA has also drafted issue briefs on the following areas: Access, Appropriations for Libraries, Broadband & Telecommunications, Copyright, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Government Services & Information, Surveillance & Privacy and the WILL Act.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

10 Ways Libraries Matter in a Digital Age

Greg Landgraf revised a list of ten ways libraries matter in a digital age in American Libraries magazine. He used feedback and suggestions from readers to draft this version. Visit the link for more details about each bullet.

  1. Libraries serve the disenfranchised.
  2. Libraries are a gathering place.
  3. Libraries are a first step to literacy.
  4. Libraries are there for all ages.
  5. Libraries help people use the internet.
  6. … And libraries help people use the internet better.
  7. Libraries are interested in your privacy.
  8. Libraries are hubs for preserving the past.
  9. Libraries are there in a crisis.
  10. Libraries offer the human touch.

Without libraries, social workers would not be able to effectively provide services and resources for their clients.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chronicle: 5 Myths About the 'Information Age'

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article, 5 Myths about the 'Information Age', that debunks historical myths about the future of information technology in society. I am glad that libraries still play an important role in furthering knowledge and fostering community. In fact, the digital divide still exists when it comes to who has access to certain kinds of information.

Here are the five myths that the article explains in greater detail:

  1. "The book is dead."
  2. "We have entered the information age."
  3. "All information is now available online."
  4. "Libraries are obsolete."
  5. "The future is digital.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

NYT: The High Cost of Teacher Salaries

I hold a lot of respect for K-12 teachers. Although I am not an aspiring teacher, I think it is an admirable profession. I found this article, The High Cost of Teacher Salaries, in the New York Times, and I believe the authors are spot-on accurate about the dire future of teaching in America.
At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

So how do teachers cope? Sixty-two percent work outside the classroom to make ends meet. For Erik Benner, an award-winning history teacher in Keller, Tex., money has been a constant struggle. He has two children, and for 15 years has been unable to support them on his salary. Every weekday, he goes directly from Trinity Springs Middle School to drive a forklift at Floor and D├ęcor. He works until 11 every night, then gets up and starts all over again. Does this look like “A Plan,” either on the state or federal level?

We’ve been working with public school teachers for 10 years; every spring, we see many of the best teachers leave the profession. They’re mowed down by the long hours, low pay, the lack of support and respect.