Job Seeking in the Public Library

Public libraries serve community needs

Libraries have always responded to the needs of the community with special programs to assist with the biggest issues of the time. In the 1980’s there were programs for the homeless, homeschooling and others. Now in the midst of a huge recession libraries are seeing a rise of job-seeking using the library computers (Roy, Bolfing, & Brzozowski, 2010).

indeed-logo
indeed logo. image credit: Wikipedia

Online job postings are growing and even replacing traditional methods. Employment websites like Monster.com or Indeed.com offer access to thousands of positions. But many people don’t understand how to use the online search pages, or put resumes together on the computer at all. Due to the recession a lot of people who have worked for years are forced to look for jobs online and don’t know where to start.  Many more libraries are creating programs to address this issue (Baumann, 2009).

Your own Personal Staffing Agency

library Computers
Computer Lab. image credit: Pixabay

Libraries have long been an informal career center for job seekers. The difference now is the number of people coming in needing technology training just to start their job searches.  Many computer education classes have sprung up at libraries to help with this issue.  The job seekers come from different backgrounds and have different needs.  The participants in a new career training program in Austin Texas ran in to some unexpected problems when their carefully constructed teaching plans were slowed down by basic computers skills questions. They found that the needs of adult learners were something they had not anticipated when designing their curriculum (Roy et al., 2010). Some programs might cater to recent college graduates, others to those learning to speak English and others to the elderly. Each group requires a different approach. Libraries can have subscription to career search programs like Career Transitions that help people that can help people find where to find jobs and figure out what resources to use (Baumann, 2009).

Changing Role of Librarians

Librarians are spending more and more time helping job seekers.  Many of the librarians have mixed feelings about this and are adjusting to this new paradigm (Baumann, 2009). Using volunteers and college students can help with the workload but it can create other problems related to training and quality of instruction (Roy et al., 2010).

Nation Wide Availability

According to an ALA report from 2012 most states are doing an excellent job of providing some Job-seeking resources in the public library (ALA, 2016).

Job_map2012

Job-seeking resources, U.S. Public Libraries 2012. image credit: A.L.A.

Further maps can be found for Technology Training

Detailed breakdowns by state on Library Technology Services

 

 

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