The Gates Foundation’s $50,000 grant to The Seattle Public Library, announced this week, will strengthen the services of The Job Resource Center located at Central library. The Center, opened on June 29, 2009 with initial grant money from Friends of The Seattle Public Library, operates in partnership with WorkSource Seattle-King County. It features six computers with generous two hour time limits and enhanced job search tools. Chance Hunt, Assistant Director of Public Services for the library, announced during National Friends of The Library week that 1000 people used the Job Resource Center in September ’09.
Sylvia Rolle spoke on KUOW about her positive experience with the Center. “…it’s really just changed my whole outlook on getting a job in this tough climate,” she said.
“I don’t have a computer,” Selena Wimmer told us in our library value survey, ”I’ve been able to work on developing my writing skills because of the access the computer lab offers. In addition, I was able to find a job using the job resource area.”
Southwest patron Judith Parlin writes, “I am recently unemployed after 33 years at the same company. I use the computers to research for jobs and to sign up for my weekly unemployment checks.”
Several people, responding to our library value survey, cited the library as their primary location for job resources including Misha, a Capitol Hill and U District branch library patron, who writes, “I have many friends like myself who have given up paying for internet services at home. After being laid off for over a year one friend can’t even afford an internet cafe & sold her lap top, so the library computers are her only option for applying for jobs, as the nearest worksource office is two (recently increased fare) bus rides away from where she is staying.”
In many neighborhoods, library branches are the only convenient and free location for computer access and job hunting services.