June 22, 2020

3 things your library can do right now to help with your community’s economic recovery

Before the pandemic, most public libraries offered a range of amazing services to help people enter the workforce, start a small business, or take their career to the next level. Now, as communities seek to rebuild in an economy ravaged by COVID-19, libraries are an indispensable part of that recovery process. 

Your library likely offers resume-building services, trademark application help, online certification courses, and resources for entrepreneurs. But many of the people who would get the most value out of those offerings don’t even know they exist. How can you promote your small business and career resources? Here are three things you can do right now to get the word out.

#1: Put all your workforce development services in one location. Create a special landing page on your library website where you list your services, divided into categories like “For the new job seeker,” “For those making a change,” and “For the entrepreneur.” You might consider emulating Mid-Continent Public Library, which has a robust webpage for those at any stage in their career journey. 

Similarly, set aside a section of your library branch or a corner of one library department where people can come to access all your small business and career help. A “one-stop shop” will make it easier for people to connect with the services they need. And it will make it easier for you to promote. Give your new one-stop shop a catchy name that’s easy to remember, like “Career Connections” or “The Hustle Hub.”

Pro tip: LibraryAware subscribers can find lots of templates to create promotional pieces for their new one-stop workforce development location. Simply type keywords like “career,” “job,” or “entrepreneur” in the LibraryAware homepage search bar, then click the appropriate boxes under “refine format” to find signs, bookmarks, widgets, and more. 

#2: Target your messages. You don’t want to overwhelm people with the sheer amount of services your library provides. Consider breaking your messages down and spending some time doing a focused promotional campaign that aims to reach one audience. 

For instance, if your library has the LearningExpress Job & Career Accelerator Tool, you can promote this resource by creating focused messages for people at different stages of career development. You might start by marketing the platform’s college finder: targeting high school students, teachers, and guidance counselors. Next, you could promote the tool’s resume builder. That promotion would be aimed at people just entering the workforce or those making a career change. Finally, you might promote the tool’s interview guidance, targeting people who’ve landed their first in-person interview. No matter how you decide to target your promotions, spend about two weeks driving each of these individual messages home by email, on signs, and in social media.

The Iredell County Public Library is a great example of a library using this promotional approach. They sent their patrons an email promoting the Atomic Training free online computer classes. Their short, clear message included a direct link so community members could log in and get started right away. 

Pro tip: Libraries with LearningExpress Library and LibraryAware will want to check out templates that will save you time. Just search “LearningExpress Library” for great social media graphics, e-blasts, and more. 

#3: Put your collection to work as a workforce development resource. Create a booklist of the latest career-related books in your collection. 

Pro Tip: Use Core Collections to quickly and expertly assemble a booklist of titles on job hunting, starting a small business, and career advancement.

Make a bookmark with your title suggestions and include the URL to your one-stop small business and job-hunting webpage. Then, ask organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, and young professional groups, to distribute your bookmarks. Or, go one step further and ask them to place a book carousel on their website featuring titles from your library. It’s easy with our widgets.

Pro tip: Add workforce development services to your Career Sources NextReads newsletter. The Dayton Metro Library is a great example to follow. 

Once your library is physically reopened, create a display of career-related books near the entrance of your library. Include a sign that lets browsers know they can get help with training, resumes, and starting their own small business. 

Pro tip: If your library offers Entrepreneurial Mindset Training, and you are a LibraryAware subscriber, we have a new series of templates designed to motivate and inspire your audience over the course of eight weeks. Just search “entrepreneurial mindset” in the LibraryAware homepage search bar to see the full series. 

LibraryAware customers are invited to get more tips and access to an exclusive Getting Your Community Back to Work Campaign Guide at a free microtraining session on Thursday, July 16 at 1 p.m. ET.  LibraryAware customers can sign up for this training by going to the "help" page of LibraryAware and clicking on "Sharpen Your Skills."   

Angela Hursh is Senior Engagement Consultant for NoveList. She is currently reading Conjure Women by Afia Atakora and listening to The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.


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