Large and small libraries hold a variety of programs for job seekers – regular classes, one-shot sessions, traditional reference services, reference appointments and others. How do libraries and information providers determine needs of the community and which services & programs to offer? How do they assess outcomes? Come join the RSS Job & Career Reference Committee for a discussion of various strategies for best serving communities large and small.
RUSA RSS Services for Job Seeking Patrons Committee
We will hold our Midwinter Official meeting on JANUARY 30, 1p-2p (ET). in Blackboard Collaborate.
Please use this URL to access our meeting:
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Thank you to all in attendance for your great input. We appreciate your sharing with us! -Rachel
Alternative Services for Job Seeking Patrons | Discussion Forum
Services for Job Seeking Patrons (RUSA RSS)
Saturday, January 21, 1pm-2:30pm
Georgia World Congress Center, B217
Some themes we covered:
Diversity is in play: our diverse patron bases mean each of us needs to offer varying levels of service, at varying times, in varying manners.
Job Seekers utilize any library they can so we see them in both public and academic libraries
Audience/ Patron group could be:
Any age, any race, any level of education, any nationality, etc.
Audience/ Patron expectations of job services could be that library staff member will:
Fill out online job application
Provide interview space
Provide interview prep
Services could be:
Resume review (Drop in or by appt)
Interview prep (class or 1:1)
Basic tech skills utilizing Lynda.com. Learning Express or having a staff person run a class
Tech drop in sessions such as “How to use X” where X could be a device or a program
Libraries could potentially also provide:
Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online (pricy)
Longer length blocks of times on computers for resume writers
Skype room or Skype on tablets/ iPads
Skype has multiple uses so might be a good investment as far as learning to use and provided space
Skype for refugee and immigrant communities
Skype for inmates to read to their children
Skype for use as part of entrepenurial/ start up programs
Problems we as librarians encounter:
Some patrons do not have the skills to update a resume into an electronic format
Online resume templates are difficult to use and cost patrons money at the end (which patrons don’t realize)
Even entry level positions and service positions such as fast food require online applications. This is a barrier for many patrons uncomfortable with technology or with gaps in employment or no prior employment
Who on staff is “in charge” of job and career services? Circulation? Reference? Someone else?
Job Seekers may actually need career counseling: we see them return time and time again to fill out a new application etc.
Also points to larger social issues: these patrons may also have difficulty with online health care forms, tax forms, enrollment, etc.
Grant opportunities such as AARP allow libraries to hire additional help for job seekers (but unsustainable when grant is over)
Libraries with enough discretionary funding could purchase several smaller memory thumb drives as incentive for taking resume and technology based classes (allows patron to update resume AND save it in a useful format AND gives a good grounding in more commonly used tech)
Programs like WinWay offer resume template services. Libraries can contact them for site license
Because time helping someone with a resume is time away from the service desk, maybe helpful to promote appointments (perhaps using the thumb drives as incentive)
Partnering: several of our group spoke of city/ state organizations that are running employment assistance programs, including things libraries struggle to provide. However, Memorandums of Understanding might need to be in play so each partner knows the expectations of service and can also avoid duplication
Philadelphia Works has a Job Gateway with Career Resources for adults and youth
Kansas City has the Women’s Employment Network
Sorry for the delay on minutes!
Our committee had a brief Zoom meeting on Wednesday, January 11th. The notes are below. Much thanks to Carolyn Larson who provided some great insight into program questions! In this meeting, we planned out our MidWinter Program (a discussion forum entitled "Alternative Services for Job Seeking Patrons")
-Respectfully submitted on January 27, 2017
Minutes for 1/11/17 mtg
Present: Julie Robinson, Jennifer Wilhelm, Rachel Minkin (notes)
- Introductions of us, including Carolyn
- Introductions of attendees (if there’s not a lot? How many would be too many?)
- Who/ What our committee is and why we think that’s important to librarianship?
- Here are some things we are doing:
o Julie: you are using Skype, right?
o Jen: resume review and information guides on website
o Rachel: support a small career services collection, directed at undergraduates and community patrons (mostly younger community patrons). Maintain subscription to Vault Career Insider (subscription service), and as part of Michigan eLibrary (http://mel.org/jobs), access to Jobs Gateway, a series of job/ career related databases
- Who’s asking? How do you identify these patrons? Do you have formal outreach programs/ services for these patrons?
o Carolyn says “ LC gets a very wide range -- from folks looking for relatively high end jobs, folks who’ve purposely taken time out to raise families to folks who’ve lost jobs and appear to be struggling, and via mail, many people who are incarcerated and soon to be released. In contrast, we get relatively few from unemployed recent graduates. We also get related questions about people who want to start their own businesses or start a home-based online job.”
o Carolyn goes on to say “Primarily when they tell us, either in an email or in-person: from a relatively straightforward question requesting examples of resumes to questions about legitimacy of a particular company offering online jobs, questions about how to find a job in a particular industry, type of work a particular job might entail, etc.”
o Carolyn: “LC doesn’t have any formal outreach. We do have fairly extensive web guides on Career Assistance linked from http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/beonline/beohome.html”
o Jen: marketing on twitter/ facebook (social media) and flyers for guides
o Julie: part of outreach but not in the way we’re thinking!
- What are we seeing in our libraries? What kinds of questions and situations?
- What could we doing more/ better? (Is this too masochistic?) “If you had the budget and the staff, what would you do more? Better? Pie in the sky!”
TAKE NOTES AT EVENT
GET EVERYONE’S EMAIL (signin sheet)
Good afternoon/ evening colleagues!
We have a program title and blurb for our Mid Winter discussion. Please feel free to share this widely with your friends and colleagues attending Mid Winter.
"“Alternative Services for Job Seeking Patrons”"
How can we support our unemployed and underemployed patrons as they navigate a local job market? What tools and technologies do we as librarians have access to that we could re-purpose specifically for job seekers? What are some alternative services could add value to our interactions with job seeking patrons. Join the Services for Job Seeking Patrons as we brainstorm alternative uses of current tools and technologies and alternative services in the our libraries.
Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), B217
Create discussion materials
Sorry, if you've already seen this but we do also need to come up with some goals... 3 or so for the 2016-17 year. This needs to be done by next week! Apologies for the quick turn around but let's get things going!
I've included last year's goals as a starting point. Tweek these? Come up with new?
Last year's goals:
- Hold a discussion forum at Midwinter on how to assist low-skill workers with job searches.
- Work on a program for Annual 2017.
- Work to change the name of our committee to Services for Job Seeking Patrons.
I'd like to also add that we can reserve Discussion Forum space for mid winter if we can come up with a topic! Last year's was well attended so this might be the way to go!