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The Seattle Public Library Job Resource Center

Seattle Public Library
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Innovation Leader: David Christensen, Instruction Librarian, david.christensen@spl.org

Problem Statement

There was and is urgent and ongoing need to support job seekers during current, tough economic conditions. Library resources and services did not adequately support jobs seekers and did not integrate well with other community forms of support for job seekers.

Innovation

The Library was awarded grants from the Seattle Public Library Friends of the Library and the Renew Washington Grant to enhance our services and resources for job seekers. The Library created a “Job Resources Center” at the Central Library, which opened in late-June of 2009. It includes 6 dedicated job searching workstations where patrons can work any job searching need, and access an extensive print and electronic reference collection that supports job seeking.

The Job Resource Center is also co-branded as a “WorkSource Connection Site” in a community partnership with the Seattle-King County WorkForce Development Council (WDC). Through this partnership, the WDC promotes our resources to their network of customers and community organizations. The library in turn offers 7 day-per-week access to job search support.

The Library also organized a partnership with WorkSource at South Seattle Community College to teach a series of job seeking skills workshops at the Library. South Seattle Community College provides workforce development experts who prepare job seekers throughout all stages of the job search process through class workshops and in-person one-on-one consultations. These workshops teach job seekers how to create a resume, search for jobs online, and job interview skills.

The Seattle Public Library also redesigned the job resources section on the Library Web site into a pathfinder format. The pathfinder format allows job seekers to easily navigate our resources no matter where they are in the job search process. We also created video tutorials to train patrons in the use of job search databases such as the resume wizard, Resume Builder, and the career discovery tool, WOIS. This Spring, the Library will launch a new online service in partnership with Workplace 911 and Brainfuse.

Progress

Between June and December 2009, 5,650 patrons used the Job Resource Center workstations. For the first time in Seattle, in-person access to job resources and help is available to customers 7 days-a-week, including evenings. During this same time period, the Central Library offered 48 job searching related programs where 334 people participated. The Resume Builder tutorial was accessed 1,384 times in 2009 and the Career WOIS discovery video was accessed 385 times. The Seattle Public Library has increased our brand recognition as an institution that supports job seekers. Community organizations, customers, and the media have taken notice.