DATE: July 08, 2009
Massachusetts Libraries are helping people get back to work
Resume writing, information on career changes or starting a business, negotiating a salary, and applying or searching online for jobs are just some of the ways public libraries are helping Massachusetts residents get back to work. "Helping people find and use information is just what we do," said one Boston librarian who helped a patron fill out an online job application that led to employment. "Job search assistance is just one way to find the value in your library," she added.
Many libraries are also offering special programs. Newton Free Library's Networking: Successful Approaches for Job Seekers and All Professionals has been well attended as has Forbes Library's What do you mean you can't find a job? The programs provide professional advice on navigating through the job market.
"I would certainly credit the (library's) program for helping me rejoin the workforce, which was no easy task given these difficult economic times," said one library patron from Southeastern Massachusetts. A Boston patron also found success through his library, "I began attending computer literacy, email, and Spanish classes a little over a year ago. (They) helped me fill out the online application, gather my resume and get me a spot at the job fair. On that day I was given a job on the spot."
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners' (MBLC) website also includes helpful information for jobseekers and more success stories: www.mass.gov/libraries
"This is not a new role for libraries. Libraries having been helping people find employment since the Great Depression," said MBLC Director, Robert C. Maier. "What is new for many people is the need to be online to look for and apply for jobs. If you're not online you can't apply for a job and for many in Massachusetts the public library is their only source for Internet access."
The MBLC estimates that over 30,000 Massachusetts residents use the Internet in their library everyday. The MBLC is currently working with The Gates Foundation, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, and local libraries to ensure that all public libraries in Massachusetts have high speed Internet access. For more information please see:
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.