Since we just launched the Job Seekers' website, we don't have any success stories of our own yet. Below are some stories from other libraries, about how they helped people find jobs.
If you'd like to submit a success story, please send us an e-mail.
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners initiated "Libraries for Job Seekers" efforts to train library staff and enable Massachusetts residents to be "better prepared to meet life's challenges." The following stories resulted from these efforts.
From a library patron in southeastern Massachusetts:
"I was laid off in mid-November and therefore was forced to enter into the job search market. I read in the newspaper of the job fair at your library and made a decision to visit and take advantage of the resources available. As part of this visit I also had the opportunity to sit with a counselor named Ben and have my résumé critiqued. That experience combined with several books that you had displayed on the topic of job search really helped me redesign my résumé.
"From mid-November to mid-January I had five job interviews. Some went well, others not so good, but I certainly learned from each experience. I finally was offered a position that I was interested in, but I was not satisfied with the base salary. I went back to your library and read through a reference book that talked about negotiating salary, which I found extremely helpful. Using techniques directly from that book I was able to successfully negotiate an additional $10K in base salary and landed the job."
A librarian in Northeastern Massachusetts reports this story about a patron:
"Last year, the public service staff noticed the same man in the library every day. He spent time using our computers to search job listings, read newspapers, and check out materials. He always acknowledged staff and exchanged pleasantries but staff knew nothing about him. During the winter, he came in one day to say he had gone back to work, and he gave the library a check for $500 in gratitude for the role the library had played in his life."
A librarian in Central Massachusetts reports this story:
"Our library's access to the Internet has helped many people in their job searches. However, one sticks out:
"A gentleman came into the library one afternoon about an hour before closing. he had been in the military for several years and had worked all of this life. He was laid off and out of work. He went to apply for an advertised management position at a fast food restaurant chain. He was told that all preliminary applications had to be made online.
"He came to the library. He did not have much experience with computers and didn't have time to learn for this job application. He asked for help. We got him onto the Internet. He started filling out the application at the website address he had. At some point, he called me over, because he didn't understand a pop-up. He was totally in the wrong site and had personal information typed in already. I erased his information and found the correct for him. Time was running short--we would be closing.
"I offered to type for him if he didn't mind. We finished, hit send and a list of 35 questions on management style came up that had to completed in order to apply for the position. It was 5 minutes until closing. Here was a capable man, beside himself with frustration at not being able to do this simple task because of his lack of computer skills. I told him that I would stay over to help him finish the questionnaire. He was very grateful.
"One week later, he came into the library a very happy man --he had the job! And he was going to take computer classes."
A Metrowest Massachusetts librarian shares this story:
"A patron who lives locally came to our library's Literacy Project drop-in résumé clinic. The library staff helped him get a library card and also pointed him downstairs for help on his résumé and job hunting.
"He is an army veteran and was also a hairdresser for 20 years but was laid off in December 2008. He was very eager to get back to work but didn't have any computer skills to know how to do online applications; he also had no e-mail address and knew nothing about using e-mail.
"Two wonderful Literacy Project volunteers, Dena and Mary, bring a phenomenal amount of patience and expertise to the résumé and job hunting clinic. They have worked in human resources and library administration; they also bring brilliant people skills that enable them to inject hope into the patrons who come for help. They treat each patron with deep respect, and help each create stunning and clear résumés that highlight skills and strengths.
"On Wednesday out friend came in for assistance with his job hunting. He met with the volunteers for about an hour and left with a professional grade résumé that he could keep and access--both digitally and on paper. He also left with an e-mail address and a rudimentary sense of how to use it for job hunting. The volunteers helped him create this résumé and then send it to lots of jobs, highlighting his veteran status and his successful work history.
"On Thursday he got a call and was interviewed for a job. He was hired.
"On Saturday morning he walked into the Literacy Project room 'so excited I can't sit down.' He feels extremely optimistic that this job will be his 'foot in the door' and that 'it will snowball'--that it will lead to a great future."
Quotes from Maine Libraries Snapshot Day
“The free computer access was instrumental in finding my new job!”
“The computer lab is a good place for me to refresh my résumé, find information, and fill out job applications.”
“I am unemployed and am unable to afford Internet access at this time. Having the ability to use the library for this purpose has provided me with a temporary position with the possibility of permanent placement.”