« Back to Economic & Workforce Development

Job & Business Center (JBC) Website

Pierce County Library System
Go to Website
Innovation Leader: Michele Leininger, Information Experience Director, mleininger@piercecountylibrary.org

Problem Statement

Throughout 2009, Pierce County Library System experienced an increasing influx of customers seeking assistance with starting or growing a business, going back to school, reconciling personal finance issues, and an ongoing employment search. Employment-related questions alone accounted for average 150+ interactions daily, stretching busy PCLS staff even further as they struggled to provide sufficient and appropriate customer service levels to this vulnerable growing local demographic. Many of the PCLS locations have a few or no dedicated hours of professional librarians, leaving those locations’ staff feeling inundated and unable to successfully connect customers with appropriate resources and support them fully in their searches.

Innovation

In response, in 2010 PCLS developed the Job & Business Center (JBC), an initiative to organize and present tools, resources, and training throughout the Library’s service area. While PCLS housed physical resources primarily at the PCLS’s six largest locations, staff planned, developed, and deployed a dynamic, feature-rich pathfinder focused on local resources (both fee-based and free) geared toward customers at levels of experience and need. This pathfinder became the Job & Business Center Website.

The JBC website is a dedicated online space developed and maintained by subject area specialists that adapts to our customers’ evolving needs. With the customer experience in mind, the online usability model is analogous to the face-to-face customer interaction, presenting topics as common questions and branching out into selective resources for specific needs. Navigation, resource guides, and interactivity provide a clean, uncluttered presentation highlighting the most critical tasks. Timely, customer-focused blog posts help highlight additional resources and give a personable touch to the site.

Progress

The JBC Website has provided more equitable access to quality job and business resources across the county, especially in remote and rural areas. It has enabled PCLS staff to access vital resources quickly and easily while providing customers with self-guided instruction for the resources that matter most to them. There have been 9,617 page views since the website was launched in January 2011. With the JBC website up and successfully functioning, PCLS is now focused on outreach opportunities to job clubs, small business groups, and other community and economic development organizations. These presentations use the JBC website and the tool to show PCLS’s resources and services that are geared directly for them. PCLS has also created important partnerships which use the JBC website. Worksource staff present JBC resources available through the website to the Job Clubs.