Social workers in the library have become increasingly popular, as libraries are a source of information, education, and services for the entire community. Social workers are more than therapists – they are coordinators, advocates, educators, consultants, and mediators. They are the perfect bridge to all social services, such as housing assistance, financial management, mental health treatment, and even food pantries. 2020 has shown us, now more than ever, that social workers are vital to communities.
It is no secret that 2020 was a tumultuous and trying year. So far, 2021 has not been any easier. Things are always changing, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s open and what services are offered where. COVID-19 has hurt individuals and communities in more ways than we could have ever imagined, but the Monroeville Public Library has been working hard to serve the community – from book bundles to virtual programs to something as simple as a friendly voice over the phone.
This past September, I started interning with Monroeville Public Library and saw so many needs across Allegheny County, as well as in our own backyard of Monroeville. People need services they never thought they would have needed, and figuring out where to go or who to ask is just one of the many hurdles. That’s why the first project I worked on was creating an online resource guide that listed the local resources Monroeville and the surrounding area has to offer. You can find it online, on the Monroeville Public Library Website. Compiling and creating this for the local community was a great start – but it has its limitations, because talking with the community and offering resources is really what the heart of social work is.
That is why I have created a “Talk with a Social Work Intern” service, which will be held every Wednesday from 2 pm to 4 pm or by appointment. I will be available via phone at 412-372-0500 ext. 117 or Zoom video call meeting number 854 8666 8938 to assist patrons with information and access to emergency personal services, social services, and any other topics individuals may need assistance navigating. (Please note that this is not professional therapy – rather referral services and assistance – as I am a student intern, not a licensed therapist.)
Ultimately, we at Monroeville Public Library want to help. A social work intern is just one of the many things we have to offer, and is the next step in connecting us all in this very isolated time. So as we navigate 2021, make sure to like the Monroeville Public Library on Facebook, visit our website for our latest updates, and call if you have any questions.
Gracie Brickner is a first-year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is studying Community, Organization, and Social Action and hopes to work in community development or nonprofit sustainability.
The full implementation of Real ID has been delayed due to COVID-19, eventually all US citizens will need to have either Real ID or a US Passport to travel. But is Real ID a substitute for a passport? Do you need both? In short, a resounding NO!
While Real ID will help you in domestic travel situations and in some situations abroad such as cruises and all-inclusive resorts, it will not help you if you need to diverge from your original plans in any way. For example, if you are on a cruise, and suddenly need to return back home, you will not be able to board a plane in a foreign country with a Real ID. You will only be able to divert your trip with a valid passport. Also, in most cases, you want to ensure that your passport has more than six (6) months before it expires. Many travel vendors will not allow you to board with less time before expiration, again as a way to prevent problems from unforeseen circumstances.
My final reason is a financial issue. If you are going to pay for a passport for foreign travel, why should you pay the additional money for Real ID. A passport will serve the same benefits as Real ID, but it does not work the other direction.
When I was in marketing for a tech company in the beginning days of content marketing, links were gold. Every time someone linked to our content my boss got excited. While I loved the free publicity and SEO awesomeness we acquired from links, I hated the act of actively pursuing them. It felt like we were begging people to like us and—let’s face it—we were.
But while a lot of things have changed since that time, the importance of links is still relevant. Search engines use links from other sources to your website as an indicator of quality content. While it’s not the only indicator, it is an important one.
Your business website needs links to show the search engines you’re loved by others. But not all links are of the same worth. Here’s how you can get some great links for very little effort.
Some Links Are Better Than OthersFirst, let’s talk about how things used to be done and what you can no longer get away with. Back in the early days of link building, there were link farms and sites that offered to link to your content for money. It was lucrative for everyone involved but that practice has ended. Google grew wise to it.
Now it ranks links by the credibility of the website. A site like CNN that linked to your website would bolster the importance of your content in the “minds” of the search engine. However, you don’t need a site like that to get good vibes from the search engines. There are a lot of easier options out there such as the following:
Good Ways to Get Great LinksIf you want good quality links back to your content, try these easy solutions.
These are all easy ways to get credible links. If you want to know more about how Google and other search engines weigh links, click here.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so. Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.
For a large number of employers, the exceptional economic pressure placed on them during 2020 has only heightened the annual challenge of managing costs relating to their company’s benefit programs. Although various vaccines and treatments are on the near-term horizon, the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic remain largely unknown. Virtually everyone expects health care premiums to increase in the months ahead, but the severity of increase is less known. Of course, even if health care premiums remained relatively flat, employers may still not be able to comfortably fit them in their budget with revenues mostly down over the past several months.
With so many uncertainties, many business owners are struggling to come up with a way to prepare for the coming year. From our perspective, the following three strategies can prove pivotal for employers when developing effective, long term strategies in the current climate:
This year has been a little more difficult to figure out new year’s resolutions. Part of that is because we’re all still reeling from the “lessons” we learned in 2020. Even the best prepared businesses lacked preparation for a global pandemic. Still, the new year is a great time to reexamine what you’ve been doing and how it can get better.
Here are a few ideas:
Get ready to retake your day. There are so many ways you can use automation to simplify tasks. From drip marketing campaigns to nurture leads into sales to daily briefings your AI can play to help you start your day (or “if, then” sequences) with the necessary information, you can spend less time on the administrative tasks and more time generating revenue.
You know all that hard work you’ve been putting in to engage your audience on those social channels? If you’re not monitoring and analyzing the data behind your efforts, you’re not getting any value out of it. Take a little time to understand your most popular posts and the time of day that garners the most reactions. Look to see which sites are performing and which aren’t.
While you’re at it, check Google Analytics to see how your site is performing. If you send out a newsletter, get to know the tools your sender offers. Some allow you to see where people are spending the most time on your newsletter content. All of them will show you open rate and clicks. Take a look at the correlation between subject line and open rate.
In the past six months alone my debit card has been reissued 3 times because of fraud. We haven’t been able to track down where that compromise has occurred, but this is a common problem. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you have a 2-person operation, no one is interested in your data. If there’s the potential for money and fraud, how many employees you have won’t matter to them. They’re looking for easy ways to get data. If you’re unprotected, you’re an easy mark.
Since people buy from those they know, like, and trust, making 2021 the year you discover or reignite your passion is a solid idea to creating a more loyal customer base. Sharing what makes you tick and gets you excited can help people connect with you. It also can help safeguard you against burnout.
Take some time to explore your passions, even if you have to schedule it on your calendar.
The new year is a great time to start those things you’ve been putting off because it’s a natural reset/fresh start moment. However, you can work toward these goals at any time. And when you do, you’ll feel a whole lot better about your path to recovery or success.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.
Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on