Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Newsweek: Reading into the future

This article is from a public librarian in Detroit talking about how much time she spends in her library answering questions about careers, information on unemployment, living acommodations, small businesses and just general "keeping my money" questions. She says:

Fortunately, we have all had comprehensive business training. Without it we wouldn't know where to start—especially now.

Based on her article, how would you rate yourself in these information literacy skills. Some of these areas also include suggestions on how to beef up this skill.
  • Assisted patrons in obtaining an email address 
  • Provided instruction on accessing email from a library Internet access terminal
  • Have experience using a vertical search engine to look for job postings
    • Have you showed a patron how to subscribe to job alerts for keyword searches in vertical search engines that offer this service (Indeed, SimplyHired, as examples)?
    • Have you showed a patron how to use an RSS feed to create a job alert?
  • Showed a patron how to use Google Local (or another mapping service) to find out how to get to an interview, or  how to get driving directions to their new employer?
    • If the patron is looking for a new place to live and their main means of transportation is public transport or walking, have you used your local transit service to plot a route, or used Walk Score to find out about the community? A Walk Score can also be used to research potential local employers.
  • Assisted patrons in navigating online application forms--for employment or EI--provided that the ability to deliver this service is also part of the library policy. You have to worry about accessing someone's personal information, as well as patrons who ask can you just fill this out for me, and your supervisor may not be too keen on librarians getting in the middle of this service. Using plain English, can you help patrons fill out this form? Do you have speakers in the community, or has your library provided an information session on these topics?
    • Can you provide the above services in Spanish or additional Language Other than English?
    • Did you help with the research, promotion and delivery of these services?
    • Remember that these services and the information can vary from state to state, or province to province.
  • Identified reputable community resources to assist with finding affordable housing
  • Have access to information from local Landlord and Tenant office, including phone numbers and upcoming sessions
  • Identified and provide a pathfinder for local and reputable sources on securing a loan for small business, as well as resources on how to write a business plan
    • Do you know of an accountant or other reputable financial professional who is willing to provide these services free or low cost to patrons? Money advice, like medical and legal advice, may best be left to the experts in some cases.
  • Identified major and reputable resources on personal finance, budgeting and credit within the library collection.
How'd you score?

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