Job seekers and employers alike have had their fair share of challenges over the past 18 months of the pandemic. Recent jobless claims have revealed that the labor market continues to slowly improve, with a July 2021 report showing an economy on track to return to “some semblance of normal” by the end of the year. At the same time, however, companies are still reporting difficulty filling jobs, with job postings that use words like “hiring urgently” increasing more than 50% since the start of the year, according to Indeed.

Libraries have traditionally played a vital role in the economic recovery and stability of their community. Job seekers turn to their libraries for computer access to apply for jobs, classes to enhance their skills, workshops to help with resumes, books to research their potential fields, and much more. A 2009 report revealed that roughly 3.7 million people reported finding work with the help of their local library.

I hear you wondering, “How can I still serve job seekers when computer use is on lockdown and in-person programs are still suspended due to the pandemic?” Or maybe you’re open to the public but haven’t seen your job seekers return in their usual numbers. Let’s look at some ways you can continue to reach out and serve both job seekers and employers during these unprecedented times. Many of these suggestions will be applicable whether your doors are open to the public or not.

Create a resource page on your library website: Make resources, services, and classes easy to find and promote by compiling it in one place on your website (peep this great example from Mid-Continent Public Library). Add a bold graphic on your homepage to draw attention to it, include links in your library e-newsletters, and share the site with your staff so that they know it’s available. Not able to create a webpage? No problem. Create a flyer to list everything you offer, then save it as a PDF and include that wherever you promote workforce development at your library.

Create a targeted email campaign: You can use e-blasts to promote your resources, classes, collection items, and more. Create an e-newsletter specifically designed for entrepreneurs and job seekers and send monthly messages that highlight your services (we see you, Las Vegas-Clark County Library). Unsure where to start? LibraryAware has e-blast templates for job resources such as LearningExpress and broader topics such as entrepreneurship.

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Plan a virtual event: The world has become accustomed to virtual programs by now, so why not make that work to your advantage and plan a virtual job fair, interactive resume workshop, or presentation by a local entrepreneur? Promote the event to your cardholders by sending an e-blast. Be sure to share it with the local media as an example of how your library is helping to rebuild the local economy.

Use social media to reach non-patron job seekers: Create attractive graphics to share regularly to your library social media accounts (remember to provide the link to the aforementioned job resource page on your site). Don’t forget LinkedIn, which is a great choice because that’s where entrepreneurs and job seekers hang out. Start a regular livestream event on Facebook or Instagram where one of your trained library staffers answers questions about opening a business or job hunting.

Use your physical space to full advantage: Put together a display of career or small business-related books and include a sign that lets browsers know where they can find your workforce development services. Place signs in your elevators, restrooms, makerspace, and near your computer stations, printers, and fax machines. Not fully open yet? Include a table display at curbside pickup. Attach flyers about your services and events to holds bags. Need inspiration? LibraryAware has templates of all types to help you! Simply search career or entrepreneur to see what’s available.

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Network and build partnerships: Your target audience is likely shared with other agencies, like job and family services, the YMCA, community colleges, and local and state governmental agencies. Seek out young professional groups, your local Chamber of Commerce, and business associations to find your entrepreneur audience. Create a brochure that lists your library offerings and ask your new partners to pass it out. Or ask them to include a link to your special landing page on their website.

Grow your collection: Do you have the most current or recommended titles for job seekers to check out? Core Collections users can check out essential titles to add to your collection. Try searching SU career or SU jobs to find a range of recommended titles to consider purchasing for your library.

We hope these ideas provide some helpful tools for reaching your job seekers and employers.

* This post incorporates material from the “Getting Your Community Back to Work” Campaign Guide, available exclusively for LibraryAware subscribers.

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Jen Heuer Scott is a Marketing Specialist at NoveList and is currently reading Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour because her tweenage girl is...a challenge (send chocolate).