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The Job Shop (JS)

Louisville Free Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Rachel Smith, Workforce Learning Coordinator, Rachel.smith@lfpl.org

Problem Statement

In 2009, there was a dramatic increase in the number of unemployed and underemployed patrons requiring help with writing resumes, conducting job searches, and applying for jobs online. Many patrons lacked basic computer literacy and other skills necessary to conduct a successful job search. We asked how we could bring staff and other resources together to respond to patrons at the Main library who were asking for help at every service point.

Innovation

A JS, opened in summer 2009, closed in August, 2009 due to the devastating flood which decimated LFPL’s operations center. While we reopened one floor within a month, the rest of the Main Library, including the JS, was closed for months. In fall 2010, a new JS opened in space renovated after the flood, strategically located across from the Library Learning Center, where Jefferson County Public Schools Adult Education classes are taught. In March 2010, we received a one year workforce information grant through the Kentucky Department of Library and Archives to hire two librarians to develop programs for job seekers and to facilitate communication with community groups. The JS includes 16 PCs, an interview room with SKYPE capabilities, a classroom, fax machine, books and online resources. In late 2010, we received a three year $1.2 million federal stimulus grant (B.T.O.P.), with matching funds from the Library Foundation, to expand our Internet capacity, as well as to hire 3 staff to train the public about online resources, with a particular focus on the unemployed and teens.

Progress

  • Have served more than 6,500 job seekers at the Main Library; nearly 13,000 in our 17 branches
  • Since the JS reopened, provided 42 weekly programs and workshops for more than 500 job seekers
  • Have developed 53 partnerships with other social service, community and civic agencies
  • Through a partnership with University of Louisville, students working on the B.S. in Workforce Leadership can attend class held in the JS classroom three nights per week
  • Staff system wide are better prepared to help job seekers as a result of training by JS staff