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Project Compass Helps Libraries Help Unemployed Patrons Find Work
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is funding a yearlong project linking libraries nationwide to share strategies for helping unemployed patrons find work. Project Compass, launched by OCLC WebJunction and the State Library of North Carolina, features four regional summits where state library officers are sharing best practices on meeting the workforce needs of their communities.
At the inaugural Project Compass summit held March 10-12 in Atlanta, representatives from 11 state libraries showcased their states' responses to workforce needs in tough times. After the showcase, the Atlanta group identified three key needs:
1. Training for library staff to meet the needs of job seekers.
2. Strategies for funding, including information about how to maximize support, gain visibility, and minimize budget cuts.
3. A website with centralized resources on workforce recovery provided by the state library. For examples of state Web sites that have been established, visit http://wiki.webjunctionworks.org/index.php/Workforce_Resources.
The project has great potential for national impact because states are coordinating their efforts and sharing information and resources, Project Compass's program manager, Betha Gutsche noted. In addition to working together in person, Project Compass is facilitating development of a "community of practice" with an online hub to help librarians share ideas and resources designed to help get their communities fully employed. To reach greater numbers, Project Compass staff will adapt the in-person summits into live, online sessions and self-directed work that will be offered for free in June.
Each state library was invited to send two representatives to one of the summits. In addition to summits in Atlanta, Portland, OR (March 21-23), and Providence, RI (May 5-7), another is scheduled for May 26-28 in Denver, CO.
A list of Online Resources for Libraries and Jobseekers is available at www.imls.gov/news/2009/062409_list.shtm.
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