Emerging Technology/Service Planning

Plan

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

The objective is to create a library space that is dedicated to improving the employability of the patrons in the communities the library serves. This Job Center would have several computer stations available specifically for the purpose of searching for and applying to jobs electronically, writing cover letters and resumes, and accessing resources for improving interviewing skills or addressing other job related questions (e.g. What does it take to be an electrician?). In addition, this space would have at least one dedicated printer for printing up cover letters and resumes. While open to everyone, special efforts would be made to promote the resources to formerly incarcerated youth and adults.

Why is this space needed?

San Bernardino County has just over 2 million residents. Of that population, approximately 20% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher (United States Census Bureau, 2010). A high school education today does not provide the same opportunities for job prospects that earn a living wage. Add into the equation that there are several correctional facilities, and a higher than average concentration of parolees in the county, and that makes employment services critical to reduce recidivism and promote safety in the community. The area of the county near where I live is home to the California Institution for Men, the California Institution for Women, and the California Rehabilitation Center (California Department of Corrections, 2020).

Description of Community you wish to engage:
  • Local business owners and employers
  • Formerly incarcerated youth and adults
  • Career Centers at Community Colleges (Citrus College) to promote CTE certificates and programs that make applicants more employable at their institutions
  • County of San Bernardino Reentry Collaborative: This organization already has a broad existing network of collaborative partners, that also include faith based and community organizations.
Action Brief Statement:

Convince our community library that by collaborating with regional county agencies they will expand access to employment services and opportunities to formerly incarcerated youth and adults and increase the employability of this severely under-served population which will reduce recidivism and make our community safer because we all want to live in a safe community.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

Guidelines for usage regarding equipment in the Job Center would need to make clear that the equipment in the space is only to be used for: searching online for jobs, applying online to jobs, drafting/typing up/saving/emailing cover letters and resumes, using the internet to search for tips on how to write cover letters, resumes, search effectively for jobs, and tips on interviewing. Printing would only be for cover letters and resumes (or applications, if required to be printed). Users of the Job Center would be required to sign up for a library card and use their library card to log into the Job Center computers. Printing in the Job Center would be free, but would be limited to cover letters, resumes, or applications. Time limits on computer usage would be limited to 90 minutes at a time (to allow others to use the computers). If there were no patrons waiting, a user could sign out and sign back in for an additional 90 minutes.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

The space for the Job Center has already been designated and is set up with several computers. Office furniture and a printer would need to be acquired, either through donations (perhaps through the Friends of the Library) or in-kind contributions from local businesses.

Invite local business owners and employers to do presentations on their business (like how to apply, what makes a good candidate, the kinds of skills desired).

Action Steps & Timeline: 

The library is already using electronic resources such as Ebsco LearningExpress Library and Calbright College to provide career preparation resources. 

One action step that can be taken to maximize users’ time within the Job Center is to host programs (at least twice a month) introducing Calbright College and Ebsco LearningExpress Library and to answer patron questions about what they are, how do they work, what kinds of skills can be learned.  If the library uses social media, they can share out the resources to all of their ‘friends’ and also include it on the library’s webpage and calendar. 

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:

This is not a new service, but rather a collaboration to promote the awareness of the Job Center resource for formerly incarcerated youth and adults. The Job Center would have limited, but fixed hours at least twice a week, and would be staffed by a professional staff member. Volunteers could be used to complete some of the librarian’s tasks that do not require access to personal identifying information (tasks such as sorting, reshelving, gathering books or materials left on shelves, cleaning workstation) thus freeing up at least two hours of the librarian’s time to staff the Job Center.

Training for this Technology or Service: 

Any applicable training offered by the San Bernardino County Reentry Collaborative would be attended by the librarian charged with staffing the Job Center and would do a mini training of their colleagues at staff retreat days or lead a staff meeting focused only on what they learned in their training. This way, if that staff member leaves, other staff members have some idea of the work that was done in the Job Center. 

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

First, research and identify agencies who work with formerly incarcerated youth and adults (like County of San Bernardino Reentry Collaborative) and inquire about partnering with them to promote the Job Center resources at the library.

Also, I would outreach to the local community college and invite their Career Services staff to lead workshops or share resources they have gathered or created (and link to it on the library’s website). If they don’t have staff to share, I would see if they had interns that could lead workshops at the library (twice a month). I would also reach out to some of the local businesses and offer the library as a place to hold a recruitment fair and to also conduct interviews. The library can do much of the promotion allowing business owners to focus exclusively on recruitment and hiring. I would also consider inviting local business owners to lead workshops on what they are looking for in employees, how to apply, and what kinds of opportunities are available in their business. I would also invite trade union stewards or other members to come and speak as part of a panel. They can talk about internships, scholarships, and the different kinds of places/projects they work on. They can also speak to the educational and experiential qualifications required to obtain certain positions.

Evaluation: 

Usage Statistics: 

  • How many separate individual patrons have used the Job Center
  • How many hours logged in to Job Center computers

User Experience Data

  • Patron satisfaction surveys (How helpful was the staff, Were the resources helpful, Did you feel that your questions/concerns were addressed properly?
  • Anecdotal Success Stories: If a patron gets a job that he applied for at the Job Center, or got an interview after going a long time without getting an interview, or if a patron was able to help someone they know use the resources or apply for a job- those stories collected can make a strong case for the necessity of the Job Center.
References

United States Census Bureau. (2010). Quick Facts San Bernardino County. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sanbernardinocountycalifornia/POP010210

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. (2020). Facility Locator. Retrieved from: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/facility-locator/

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