The increased unemployment rates of the past six years or so caused a significant spike in activities at public libraries across the United States supporting the unemployed in their efforts to find a job. That support has come in the form of enhancing the selection of materials available in a library’s collection, offering new services such as one-to-one tutoring on how to use library resources, and programming an array of job search workshops and computer training sessions to help job seekers enhance their skills. According to a report by the American Library Association, the number of libraries that reported offering classes in online job‐seeking and career‐related information grew by 20% from 2009 through 2011, a trend that continues to the present. Not only are more libraries offering workshops and job search support, but libraries that were already providing support have increased their offerings.
This trend is evident at Naperville Public Library. Unemployment rates in Naperville are lower than state and national averages, but there was a steep increase four or five years ago which has only recently dropped back to historical levels. NPL has added new job search materials to the library's collection and any outdated resume and other career guides have been withdrawn. The number of job search one-to-one appointments increased dramatically at Naperville Public Library over the past couple of years. NPL staff has received training to enhance their knowledge of job search tools, skills and processes in order to meet the needs of local job seekers. The library has also added more job search workshops to its programming mix, roughly doubling the number of job-focused workshops offered. These workshops address key job search skills, such as resume writing, researching companies, networking and interviewing. Additionally, once a year (usually in August) a workshop is offered for moms returning to the workforce.
As the U.S. economy settles into a track for slow but steady improvement the employment picture has also brightened slightly in recent months. However, local job clubs and career centers report that older workers and those experiencing longer-term unemployment are most often the ones still looking for that elusive next position, continuing an established trend.
The jobs outlook going forward shows signs of improvement, too. Economic forecasts in general suggest improved economic activity in the United States and throughout the world that will lead to increased hiring in several economic sectors. This should give hope to those still looking.
Upcoming Job Search Workshops offered by the library: