Still reeling from the 2010 joint ARSL/ABOS conference doings and very excited to report with some session followup. I was joined by these fine folks below, to present twice, our session on Libraries and Workforce Recovery. I wanted to showcase a couple excellent resources mentioned during the presentations as well as encourage you to take a look at our session page on WebJunction.
Kathleen Rainwater, Business Librarian in the Arapahoe Library District, shared how her library is using free web tools made available by the U.S. Department of Labor on CareerOneStop.org to support their patrons. Attendees were very excited to hear that she’s created and made available on WebJunction, a comparison of subscription based job tools and these free, federally hosted sites. She also explained the “Book a librarian” service they provide to patrons who need a bit more time than can be provided during regular reference desk shifts. Their library also provides instruction to patrons on how to search the hidden job market and how to leverage social tools in their job searching. She concluded with some of the tools and databases they use to support small business development in their communities.
Jackie Kuusinen, Associate Reference Librarian at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs presented on how her library hosted a volunteer-staffed resume writing workshop. And she’s kindly recorded her presentation to share with all who are looking for shoestring strategies to address job-seeker’s needs. Thank you, Jackie! In addition to the video, Jackie has shared the emails she used in recruiting and preparing her volunteers for the workshops.
And in true WebJunction collaborative form, the ARSL session attendees provide their own suggestions and examples of libraries responding to their patrons’ workforce development needs. We collected their responses to these questions and have posted the full list of responses here.
And as Shelley Walchak, from the Colorado State Library, shared in our session wrap-up, this conversation continues! WebJunction wants to hear more about the work you do in your community to support job-seekers! All are welcome to contribute, to learn, and to share in the growing Workforce Resources collection on WebJunction.
Over the first year with Project Compass, we heard about the many successful ways in which public library staff around the country have responded to the needs of the unemployed. We also heard that library staff could use more training and knowledge to augment their ability to help the struggling workforce. And of course, we heard about budget cuts and how little time there is for learning.
Working with library trainer and consultant Pat Wagner, we developed a series of five short video presentations in which Pat shares her knowledge and experience on some key topics that will help library staff help their patrons. Think of them as “learning tapas” or small chunks of information to be consumed when you have the time and the appetite.
Find links to all five in the table of contents.
There are lots of other resources on the menu of the Workforce Resources community.
Beginning in October, OCLC and LYRASIS will be hosting a series of free all-day workshops designed to help libraries better understand how Web scale is changing cooperative library services.
What is “Web scale”? Also referred to as “cloud computing,” this 2009 blog post from OCLC’s Mike Teets gives a quick summary from the technical side.
From the workshop announcement page:
Libraries have been cooperating on cataloging, collection management and resource sharing services for decades. The benefits of networked services include the lack of need for local software or hardware, elimination of maintenance and support costs, lower overall expense and better scalability.
Now, Web scale offers libraries the chance to revitalize traditional services by sharing workflows, activities, data and standards as part of a cooperative.
OCLC and LYRASIS invite you to take this opportunity to find out how Web-scale cooperation can lower your library’s costs, make your services more efficient and improve your patrons’ overall experience. At these workshops, attendees will
- Discuss ideas with experts, colleagues and early adopters
- Learn the benefits of moving library services to Web scale
- Take away practical tips on how to fit Web scale into your long-term strategy
- Engage in readiness activities to help you in your planning discussions.
Here’s where and when you can attend a workshop:
For more information, visit http://www.oclc.org.
As part of the ongoing collaboration between IMLS and the Employment & Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL/ETA), WebJunction is hosting this ETA presentation on the new job-seeking tool, mySkills myFuture. Join us on Wednesday, September 29, 2:00 pm ET and hear more about this free online tool that enables job seekers to increase their career mobility and economic prospects. Specifically, the self-paced tool helps previously employed to (1) use their previous experience to identify occupations that they might be qualified for; (2) identify the skills s/he needs to acquire to qualify for a specific job; (3) identify education or training institutions where these skills can be obtained; and (4) provide links to relevant job opportunities in national and state job banks. Libraries will want to add mySkills, myFuture to their resources to help job-seeking patrons in their community.
WebJunction is taking a giant leap forward for library trainers across the country, by developing a truly valuable collection of library technology training resources and assets. These materials will be free to download and reuse, which will help reduce your library’s burden of developing and finding training materials. We are working with library consultant Stephanie Gerding, author of The Accidental Technology Trainer: A Guide for Libraries, to identify and collect these resources. But we also need your help. Please take our quick survey to select the specific patron training topics of greatest interest to you, to guide Stephanie and WebJunction’s work. The survey will close on September 15, so don’t delay!
We’re gearing up for Wednesday’s special 2-hour Digitization & Preservation Symposium, from 2:00-4:00 pm Eastern and we hope you can join us! The session will feature presentations on current trends and practical approaches to library digitization and preservation projects. One of the presenters unfortunately had to cancel due to a family emergency, but we’ll have plenty of time for the other presentations and extra time for your questions and comments.
The PNLA/WLA 2010 conference in picturesque Victoria BC provided my first opportunity to give a retrospective report on Project Compass, the year-long, IMLS-funded program to work with State Libraries and focus on building public library capacity to meets the needs of a workforce in crisis. After a whirlwind year, I could start to take a few steps back and look at what we (the big WE of state and public libraries all over the country) have accomplished in response to the economic downturn and the dramatic increases in demand for library services.
My slide presentation describes the scope, goals and phases of the overall project, and then focuses on the past, ongoing and future actions of the states represented at the Pacific Northwest conference—Idaho, Montana and Washington. To get the full-throated understanding of all the amazing work that State Libraries are doing, browse the list of Showcases presented by participants at the Project Compass summits. Nobody is resting on their laurels either, as evidenced by the list of projects that are being implemented in the coming year.
The most rewarding aspect of the year with Project Compass has been engaging in a vibrant knowledge exchange with the library community, not just with participants at the in-person and online summits, but with library people everywhere. From those who attended my conference session, I got to hear perspectives from the front lines and from rural libraries about what was needed to serve job-seekers. I hadn’t heard before about the need for wifi printers so users could print directly from their laptops and not have to queue up for the public computers. Or the need for space in small libraries; job-seeking can be an all-day effort and the job-seekers impact the tiny spaces of many rural libraries.
For ongoing connections, there is the community of practice for Workforce Resources on WebJunction. This section burgeoned since the start of the project. It is truly a community effort with lots of room for continued growth. If you’re on Twitter, use the #libs4jobs hashtag to broadcast news and events about the library-workforce connections. If you’re not a tweeter, you can still see freshly updated posts in the Twitter badge on the main section page.
Stay tuned for Year Two. Project Compass continues to augment public library services to the unemployed with a follow-on grant from IMLS.
Free hour-long webinar on August 3, 2:00 pm Eastern.
Libraries are looking for ways to be better prepared for disaster response and recovery. Join guest presenter Lauren Mandel, research coordinator at the Information Use Management & Policy Institute at Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information, as she introduces a new key service role, Get to Know Your Emergency Operations Center (EOC), to the existing Hurricane Preparedness & Response for Florida Public Libraries Project. The Florida-based project helps libraries throughout the U.S. serve their communities through partnerships with fellow responders (e.g., emergency management, local government and other agencies) and become a safe haven, recovery center, information hub and evacuee resource. Come learn how this project can inform your library’s disaster preparedness plan and how your library can play an important role in community preparedness and recovery by working with your EOC. With updates to service roles and resources since the project’s fall webinar and relevance to any sort of partnership development, you won’t want to miss this session!
Free 30-minute webinar series on three Tuesday afternoons in August: 17th, 24th, 31st
Communities across the country are pursuing a burgeoning strategy known as economic gardening, which works to stimulate the development of small business with the goal of growing a healthy, community-scale economy. Libraries can be key players in supporting and facilitating their success. This Libraries and Economic Development webinar series will expand your thinking about the powerful connection. Your host for the series is Shelley Walchak, a mover-and-shaker with the official title of Library Community Programs Senior Consultant at the Colorado State Library.
Webinar 1: How to Make Your Library Entrepreneur-Friendly
Tuesday, Aug 17, 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific
Christine Hamilton-Pennell literally wrote the book. She is an articulate proponent of libraries’ support for local entrepreneurs. Learn specific steps your library can take to connect with and support its local business community. If you’re at all intrigued by the concept of economic gardening, this webinar is a must-see. Hamilton-Pennell introduces the strategies and lays the groundwork for their practical application, which will be covered in the following two webinars.
Webinar 2: Turning Your Databases into Business for Your Customers
Tuesday, Aug 24, 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific
Your library may already have the tools at hand (or close by) to help stimulate economic development in your community and you don’t have to be a trained business reference librarian to use them. Presenters Terry Zarsky and Kathleen Rainwater will give a guided tour through the best databases for small business information.
Webinar 3: Going to Your Customer – Outreach and Strategic Partnerships
Tuesday, Aug 31, 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific
How do you let the business community know that your library is primed and ready to help? Presenters Suzanne Kaller and Colbe Galston will talk about how to get the word out to Chambers of Commerce, small business development centers, community groups and government entities.
For more information and to access archives and registration:
Knowing how to find and use e-government resources is critical for patrons who need access to information related to unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, tax forms, health and housing; and many are asking their public library to help them navigate this information. To meet these new and increased demands on frontline staff, libraries in Florida are collaborating with government agencies and social service organizations to provide the best service possible to patrons. Join us for this webinar on Thursday, June 3, at 1 pm Eastern with representatives of Florida libraries, who will share their strategies used to educate both the public and frontline staff on how to access this information and their experiences building partnerships with other agencies in their communities to respond to workforce development needs. Presenters include Nancy Fredericks, E-Government Librarian, Pasco County Public Library Cooperative; Karen Clinton Brown, Library Program Specialist, State Library and Archives of Florida; Sol M. Hirsch, Library Director and Otto C. Pleil, Reference Librarian from the Alachua County Library District.
There are myriad ways in which libraries are helping people pull through the economic crisis. Recent reports verify this role. ALA’s State of American Libraries 2010 and the Opportunity for All report from the Gates Foundation/IMLS-funded US Impact Study provide statistical substance to what library staff know first-hand: “Recession drives more Americans to libraries in search of employment resources.”
WebJunction is building a community of practice around libraries and workforce recovery. We want to surface all the mega and micro resources, strategies, or stories to let the world know how libraries and their staff throw out the lifeline to the community in tough times.
Here are four ways to share what you know:
What is your story?
UPDATE: Register for the upcoming May 18 webinar with the research team!
If you work in a library, you’ve experienced it first-hand: people need libraries for Internet access. And now there’s data to prove it! Last year we blogged about the WebJunction group: Does your PAC have IMPACT? and we’re thrilled to share news of their completed research.
The new report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. This powerful research was conducted by the University of Washington Information School and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older – roughly 77 million people – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year.
Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of people living below the federal poverty line used computers and the Internet at their public libraries.
Americans across all age groups reported they used library computers and Internet access. Teenagers are the most active users. Half of the nation’s 14- to 18-year-olds reported that they used a library computer during the past year, typically to do school homework.
The use of library technology had significant impact in four critical areas: employment, education, health, and making community connections. In the last 12 months:
The report’s findings (over 200 pages worth!) are based on nearly 50,000 surveys – including 3,176 from a national telephone survey and 44,881 web survey responses – from patrons of more than 400 public libraries across the country.
And for those of you on the front line, you can stand behind those number to show that YES, your hard work supporting public access computing in libraries does have a *huge* impact!
I recently read the report published by IMLS, Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills which is a part of an outstanding initiative which “underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.”
The initiative includes 3 parts, all available here http://www.imls.gov/about/21stCSkills.shtm:
1. The Online Self-Assessment: a brief interactive survey that quickly analyzes an institution’s 21st century strategies and describes next steps for action.
2. The Report: outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and 21st century skills and includes case studies [be sure to read these case studies!] of innovative audience engagement and 21st century skills practices from across the country.
3. The Self-Assessment Tool: allows museums and libraries to determine where they fit on the continuum of 21st century skills operations and programming.
I found numerous parallels to the efforts of the initiative with those of Project Compass and thought it would be great to start a discussion about the long term goals your library has to support the development of patrons’ 21st Century Skills beyond the current workforce challenged economic climate and on into the future.
The report identifies the differences between 20th and 21st Century skills, and provides a framework including four skills areas:
You can see the skill sets cover many of the areas we have traditionally focused on. I’m very excited to see how this framework might help libraries clarify our role and forge potential community partnerships to build 21st C. skills in our communities.
I found these 3 quotes to be particularly powerful:
First an overall call to collaboration:
All libraries and museums—and the people they serve—stand to benefit from becoming more intentional and purposeful about accommodating the lifelong learning needs of people in the 21st century, and doing this work collaboratively in alignment with community needs.
And then more focused on learning, specifically the role we as libraries can play in informal learning to help our communities…
Skills like critical thinking and problem solving are not only relevant for K-12 students and schools. There are millions of adult learners not in formal education programs looking to refine workplace skills. Even school-aged children spend the overwhelming majority of their waking hours in non-school settings, and increasingly they spend this time in organized out-of-school settings such as afterschool, museum, and library programs. In these settings, they develop important skills—such as problem solving, collaboration, global awareness, and selfdirection—not only for lifelong learning and everyday activities, but also for use back in K-12 schools and college classrooms.
And I loved this one that encourages us to
view learning from an “ecological perspective” that involves “life-long,” “life-wide,” and “life-deep” experiences.
The report itself is loaded with other excellent information that can both guide programming as well as advocacy efforts, with clear articulation of the critical value of libraries. I’ve yet to dive deep into the assessment tools, but kudos to the task force and team member who pulled together the launch of this outstanding initiative!
Read it and tell me what you think!
Advancing Leadership and Innovation in Public Libraries – International City/County Management Association discusses Public Library Innovation grant recipients and links to their projects.
“Online at the Library” was published by Ellen Perlman in Governance Magazine on Oct 20, 2009.
International City and County Management Association Newsletter includes notice and summary about the Libraries Connect Communities report.
Best Practices in Helping Job Seekers in the Library (webinar) – with speakers Bernice Kao, Raye Oldham, Megan Pittsley iincludes links to presentation and materials related to the topic.
Hard Times Resources is a new website supporting librarians and the public developed by the Washington State Library. The team presented at WebJunction”s Technology Essentials Conference yesterday and a number of other projects are referenced in their presentation materials.
Public Libraries & E-government Services – published Summer 2009, this ALA brief highlights how public library technology supports public access and use of e-government information and resources.
The ning community on Library 2.0 has a group on E-government for Public Libraries.
If you have additional resources to share, please post a comment and we’ll keep building out this list.
Originally published by Valerie at Collaborative Librarianship News. Re-posted and expanded with permission.
Workforce Resources will continue to grow. We welcome your contributions. Tell us what your library is doing to guide patrons toward recovery. Share your stories of patrons who were steered toward success with the help of the library.