Louisville Free Public Library’s Job Shop: Helping People Get Back to Work
By Nicole Dixon
On any day of the week you are likely to find people using a public computer at the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) to search for a job online, write a resume, or complete an online job application. In response to the growing number of job seekers, and thanks to the support of the Library Foundation, the library opened the first Job Shop at the Main Library in 2009. The success of that first effort to bring employment and career resources, and the assistance of staff, into a single service has led to an expansion of the library’s workforce development effort. LFPL now offers a Job Shop at the Main Library, the Southwest Library, the Job Shop Online, Job Seeker Classes, and Mobile Job Shops around the community.
If your local library does not currently have a program in place to aid job seekers, you might share the information in this article and on the LFPL website with your library staff. Community members rely on libraries for computer access, resources, and expert advice, and this program would be a great benefit to patrons.
What Patrons will find at the Job Shops at Main Library and Southwest Library
Mobile Job Shops
The Mobile Job Shops travel around the community to provide many of the same services as our two Job Shop locations.
Job Seeker Classes
The Job Shop at the Main Library provides programs for unemployed or underemployed every Tuesday at 2 p.m. The programs are a combination of workshops provided by career development professionals and professional organizations and classes taught by LFPL staff. Presenters are invited to speak or conduct workshops on a variety of issues related to job search.
Presentation & Workshop Topics
Classes Presented by LFPL
Library staff member teach classes designed to assist patrons with finding work. Job Shop staff members provide these classes around the community at our branch libraries and in collaboration with other organizations such as community centers and schools.
Online Resources at www.lfpl.org/jobshop
Resources on our website are available for our patrons to use from the library, from home. All they need is a computer with Internet connection.
Computer Classes at LFPL
Computer skills classes are offered regularly throughout the community. Patrons can build skills they need for job searching as well as skills that are valued by employers.
Numbers & Summary
Signups at the Main Library Job Shop
2011 - 12,478 (about 1,040 per month)
December to August 2012 – 8,336 (about 1,042 per month)
Patron interactions range from brief to ongoing. A person may come in just once to print and fax a resume to a potential employer. Another patron may come every day for weeks. The first day they learn how to create and use an e-mail account. The following days, they are introduced to the world of online job searching and applications. Many people have lost jobs they held for 10-20 years and the process of finding employment has completely changed.
The Job Shop program covers point-of-need services and provides opportunities for education and skills building. The Job Shops and the Mobile Job Shops serve patrons individually by giving them a quiet place to work on their own or with help from staff. Our computer classes and workforce development classes and workshops allow people to gain new skills. Our online resources provide assistance to our community whenever and wherever they need it.
It is hoped that the information contained in this article will provide NCDA members with ideas to develop and implement job search and computer education programs for community members and library patrons.
Nicole Dixon is a Community Outreach Supervisor at the Louisville Free Public Library. She leads the Library’s Tech Connects Team and supervises the Job Shop. The Tech Connects Team includes Training Specialists and Outreach staff who teach computers classes and promote library services throughout the community. Her prior positions include Community Outreach Coordinator and Workforce Development Supervisor. Nicole has a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. You can reach Nicole at Nicole.Dixon@lfpl.org.