Well, this truly is our heyday! As budgets implode, library use explodes, so how do we provide more with less? Websites can help relieve some of the stress on information desks by linking to resources that answer some of the most frequent questions from the unemployed. The Washington and New Jersey state libraries have excellent sites with links to job resources, unemployment forms, community resources for the needy and economic development resources (especially useful for those who’ve decided to give up on finding a job and start their own business). And Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library has compiled a Job Search Kit for checkout that has resume and job search books as well as information on local resources. BCR offers BrainFuse’s JobNow to help patrons with interviews, resumes and the job search. We also offer Facts on File’s Career Guidance Database to let customers explore new job choices. If you want to create a page with specific resources for your state, try starting with TheCanned which has information on health insurance options and unemployment benefits for all the states as well as job links.
We also need to help shore up local businesses so there are some jobs out there for our increasingly anxious patrons. Some libraries are offering personalized services to help businesses grow. Librarians interview companies about their informational needs then run specific searches on specialized single user databases on a regular basis that alert the businesses to new opportunities. Sites like Growing Local Economies can give you lots of ideas about how you can start your own program and BCR has partnered with CIVICTechnologies to offer their BusinessDecision database to help you help them with research and marketing.
Remember too that there are confusing decisions for the newly laid off to make about finances and savings. Those who need to move sums from pensions and 401(k)s may be particularly vulnerable to scams but the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has an excellent page on managing finances after a job loss.
So share your ideas! I’d love to hear from you about ways your library is helping out in these difficult times.