Allow us to introduce you to Cassie Gaffney!
Cassie is working toward her master’s degree at the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and thanks to a partnership between Allegheny County Library Association and the university she will be with us and here to serve you as a resource specialist through the end of April.
Cassie will host open hours on the second floor at CCM Edgewood on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. She’ll also be available by appointment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What degree are you seeking?
A: I’m hoping to get my Master of Social Work degree in direct practice. This is a very unique placement, being in a library, but this started through ACLA being interested in the role of social work at libraries and how it can be very important for people who really want resources and help but may have difficulty finding it.
Q: How did you become interested in social work?
A: I’ve always been interested in psychology in general. When I was younger I was curious about mental health services and how to get involved in that and how to help. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about. As I got into college I realized I cared a lot about mental health but also helping people in terms of finding community resources. There’s so much more beyond the person. There are societal structures that can get in the way of seeking help and that can cause distress or add to the distress that a person’s already facing. That’s part of why this library research sounded interesting to me. Being able to learn about community assets and resources and being able to do outreach and help people to get those things through the library is something that really drew me to the program.
Q: What are some of the things you’ll be able to help people with when they come to the library to see you during your open hours?
A: Lots of different things. I can help fill out applications, make phone calls, help set up appointments, maybe figure out who to call about an electric bill or other issue, help people find resources and information such as where to go to apply for food stamps, find shelter vacancies, help with job and housing searches and give one-on-one assistance. The one thing I can’t do is provide therapy because I’m not a licensed therapist, but I can be a sympathetic ear.
Q: You’ll be starting a Relaxation, Meditation and Mindfulness program at CCM Edgewood every first and third Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. beginning January 19. Tell us a little more about that.
A: It’s really just going to be a space for people to unwind and get away from work and other stressors and be able to practice things like focusing on the here and now and breathing techniques. It will also be a collaborative space to vent and talk, and I’ll probably offer adult coloring or a place to do art. It’s important to encourage people to take a break and unwind.
Stop by and say hello to Cassie at CCM Edgewood!