RALEIGH — The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the Cumberland County Public Library the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for community service. The Cumberland County Public Library is one of 10 libraries being recognized for its numerous programs to serve patrons in an economic downturn. Of those services being recognized, one includes the Job Search Toolkit developed by the State Library of North Carolina in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
“Libraries across the state are making a difference in getting our citizens back to work,” said Secretary Linda Carlisle, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.”They provide access to information, technology and job search skills, which can help change lives. I commend the Cumberland County Public Library for this incredible national honor. They are truly making a difference for the local community.”
During these difficult economic times, libraries across the state and nation have become a vital resource for thousands of citizens. The Job Search Toolkit, developed in 2009, was created so libraries across the state can proactively assist jobseekers with needed resources to assist with online job searches, resume preparation, completing job applications, and more. The Cumberland County Public Library’s award winning program takes advantage of the State Library’s Job Project. Additionally the library system employs two “master trainers” who were trained by the State Library. These professionals have the necessary skills to design and provide training to other staff as well as patrons in pursuit of employment.
“Hundreds of individuals have taken advantage of our monthly classes,” explained Cumberland County Library Director Jody Risacher. “We also found that our one-on-one service, Book A Librarian, meets the needs of individuals who learn better in this environment rather than a classroom.”
The Cumberland County Public Library held job fairs in March and August that attracted approximately 800 patrons each. Risacher says people are being hired after the events in the areas of insurance, project management, hotel support, government services, and more. The library also is providing information and connections to help citizens start their own businesses.
“We realized that citizens needed help to undertake a 21st century job search, since even Wal-Mart applications are online these days,” explained Carlisle. “Our State Library developed the Toolkit and training for librarians to help citizens hone their skills. To help make this project successful, we also partnered with community colleges, the Employment Security Commission and the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Joblink Career Centers.”
Numerous libraries across North Carolina use the Job Search Toolkit, and the project was replicated nationwide to assist patrons in economic distress. Carlisle addressed a Congressional Panel in September about the role of libraries in providing assistance to citizens and communities impacted by job loss. She explained that libraries may offer job search skills, motivational support, information on skills and resources for business development, and much more.
“Not only do citizens have the key to our public libraries, but we also believe in giving job seekers the key to their future,” Carlisle concluded.