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Rachel Minkin's picture

Notes from ALA MW Discussion Forum "Alternative Services for Job Seeking Patrons"

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:

Write resume

Update resume

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.

 

Possible solutions:

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

    JobCorps

    Philadelphia Works has a Job Gateway with Career Resources for adults and youth

    Kansas City has the Women’s Employment Network