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Survive & Thrive @ the Library

Forsyth County (NC) Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Donnell Dwiggins, Public information Officer, dwiggidr@forsythlibrary.org

Problem Statement

In 2008 as the economy faltered, library staff began noticing a significant increase in the number of people coming to the library seeking help in their search for work. In response we developed a cohesive, organized approach to providing practical, useable information to job seekers. In 2010, as other local agencies assumed a greater role in providing basic information and resources to the unemployed, it became obvious that job seekers sought a greater breadth and depth of resources and information to survive in a highly volatile economy.

Innovation

“Survive & Thrive @ the Library” began as a series of programs, each specifically targeted to one part of the job seeking process and presented (free of charge) by experts in that particular field. “Survive & Thrive @ the Library” combined and coordinated divergent information needs of job seekers into a single program allowing for clear, concise planning, marketing and delivery of services. In 2010, listening closely to our community, we re-structured “Survive & Thrive @ the Library” to meet the evolving needs of our customers, while no longer offering basic job seeking information and resources which was now being supplied by other community agencies.

Progress

When the community told us surviving tough economic times included more than just knowing how to write a resume or possessing good interviewing skills, we listened. As a result, “Survive & Thrive @ the Library” now offers programs on topics such as: personal debt management, budgeting, bargain shopping using coupons, and understanding options if facing foreclosure. Our drop-in job seekers lab, began during phase one, continues to work with individuals in the Central Library’s computer lab, but has now has now expanded to one-on-one help at many of our branch locations as well. This service is still provided using volunteers and can help with every aspect of computer training and job seeking, focusing on individual needs. “Survive & Thrive @ the Library” programs have been attended by hundred s of people since first offered with many more accessing information online. As the economy continues its unpredictable course, “Survive & Thrive @ the Library” continues to evolve, demonstrating the needed flexibility to quickly provide resources and information for any need job seekers may have.