Member libraries stepped up to the plate with 100% participation in the MHLS Workforce Development Survey conducted by MHLS Assistant Director Merribeth Advocate.
"With more outside focus on workforce development than ever before, and more funding accompanying it," said Merribeth, "this data will help us work towards outreach services, assistance and partnerships that can ease and enhance your work supporting workforce development in your community."
What did we learn?
- 66.7% of member libraries reported that the public computers and internet access in their library is the only free access in their community.
- System-wide, libraries' computers are used between 1,000 and 1,500 times per week by residents seeking a new job, advancing their career or improving work related skills.
- In the past six months there has been a minimal reduction in the need for staff support to help people, 90% of library staff are helping patrons search for jobs at the same or an increasing rate.
- 68% of libraries reported they do not have enough staff to meet patron needs.
- 42% of libraries indicated they do not have enough public computers to meet patron needs.
- 68% of libraries reported they do not have enough staff with the expertise their patrons need.
The survey also helped gather anecdotes about patron success thanks to staff assistance at the library during their job search, here's a selection:
- "We had a single, older male come in looking for work. I assisted in helping him restructure his resume and another staff member assisted him with online job applications. He currently holds two part-time jobs within five miles of his home."
- "I worked with a patron who was caught completely unaware when she was let go. We got her resume together and accessed some of the job resources online. She was re-employed within six weeks.
- "An unemployed woman came in, we were able to hook her up with free online typing class, and she came for months and practiced for hours and hours on library computers. She stopped by today, she got a full time job with benefits with data entry!"
To supplement resources available in local libraries, JobNow and The Adult Learning Center is currently available to all MHLS libraries, at no cost to your patrons, through your HOMEACCESS page at http://midhudson.org/databases/
and also through your county's Job Resource Center page created by Merribeth:
JobNow is an "innovative online service" that provides expert resume help, real-time interview coaching and career advice. There are services to help with every step of a job search. The Adult Learning Center features test preparation (including GED and U.S. citizenship preparation), writing assistance, and study tools for math, reading and writing. JobNow also provides live, online one-on-one interaction with a tutor or job coach. This service is available as part of JobNow™ and the Adult Learning Center.
Check out this upcoming webinar that could also be useful to libraries struggling to keep up with demand: Support Patron Learning in Small Spaces with Small Budgets | June 12, 2-3pm: This webinar will showcase how small and rural libraries can provide effective training to patrons even with limited staff, resources, or space. In small communities, libraries can often be the only provider of free public access to technology and the internet. And as more people turn to their library to learn technology skills, even the tiniest of libraries are faced with the challenge of providing training to patrons with limited staff, resources, and space. Learn from small and rural libraries who are making training a reality for their patrons, using volunteers, leveraging partnerships and integrating learning into everyday interactions. Whether the technology training you do (or want to do) is one-to-one, on-the-fly or a more formal program, this session will include tips and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the training you provide. This webinar is hosted in collaboration with TechSoup for Libraries and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. Presented by: Brenda Hough and Stephanie Gerding, consultants, TechSoup for Libraries and Wendy Street, director, Pella Public Library, Iowa. To register: http://bit.ly/11JNTvh