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Job Portal & Coaching Service

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Job Portal & Coaching Service

Austin Public Library, Texas

Workforce and Economic Development | 2020

Innovation Synopsis

We created the Job Portal & Coaching Service in response to the wave of pandemic-related unemployment. We support community members seeking employment or professional development through the online portals, which offer on-demand resources curated by librarians, as well as 1:1 job coaching sessions. All services are available in English and Spanish.


When COVID-19 closed libraries, we adapted quickly to provide meaningful help to job seekers via video call and email or via phone for those with low tech skills. We also wanted to alleviate any overwhelm for local workforce organizations. Mobilizing staff working remotely was key to expanding APL services without access to additional funding. We sought to leverage our role as a trusted organization to assist job seekers from all demographics and strengthen relationships with library users, both new and old.

Key Elements of Innovation

By adapting the format and tech infrastructure of our existing Book a Librarian service to Job Coaching and creating the portals in LibGuides, we achieved a quick roll out of services and resources at no cost. We recruited and trained a diverse team of 40+ job coaches from all work groups and locations throughout the APL system, preparing them to help customers at the point-of-need. We migrated the portals to our website for higher visibility, where they provide a sequence of manageable steps in the job search process.

Achieved Outcomes


  • New partnerships: Workforce Solutions, Goodwill, Google
  • Enthusiastic feedback from partners, staff, administration and customers
  • Professional development opportunities for staff
  • # of hits on English portal since April: 8309
  • # of hits on Spanish portal since April: 1561


  • Additional community partnerships
  • Data on referrals to partner organizations
  • Data from automated survey sent via email to customers. We recently developed a system to collect feedback, so we do not have any yet.