According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronical, librarians say that assisting job hunters is a natural extension of their role as information navigators (and I might add, supporters of their communities). Public libraries around the country have increasingly emerged as resource centers for a growing number of displaced workers, holding classes on resume writing and job interviewing, subscribing to specialized job databases, offering online prep courses for civil service and other exams, amassing materials on starting businesses, creating Web sites on career development and offering free career counseling. Recently, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Department of Labor announced a new partnership to more effectively help job seekers. An estimated 3.7 million Americans have found work with support from their public libraries, said IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel, citing a March 2010 study conducted by the University of Washington and sponsored by IMLS and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The report found that :
- More than 77 million people age 14 and over used a library computer last year.
- 30 million people used library computers to help address career and employment needs.
- Among these users, 76 % searched for jobs online and 68 % went on to apply for a job or submit a resume.
- 23 % used library computers to receive job-related training.
- 3.7 million people reported finding work using a library computer.
- 88 % of public libraries provide access to job databases and other job opportunity resources.
- 67 % of libraries report that staff members helped patrons complete online job applications last year.
- Nearly 90 % of public libraries offer formal or informal technology training to library patrons.
- 67 % of libraries report they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.