Librarians' New Job Title: Career Counselor

Job seekers are searching out help at the library.

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I'm a major proponent of library usage. I have library cards in my wallet issued from the last three cities in which I've lived, and, while I haven't kept track, I can assure you that those cards have prevented the other cards (credit, debit) from some abuse. The really great libraries hold more free books, British miniseries DVDs, foreign language CDs, and quiet corners than one could ever make room for at home.

It's a no-brainer that money-conscious job seekers are availing themselves of the library's many great assets. Today's WSJ reports that library branches throughout the country are being inundated with job seekers who are looking for help in the form of career advice books, time on the computers, free Wi-Fi, and the librarians, themselves.

An excerpt:

Librarians are turning into job counselors -- and even social workers -- as they have to deal with a sometimes-desperate new class of patrons. "They are frustrated, overwhelmed and thought they would not be job hunting again in their lives," says Jan Perrier, head of reference and adult services at the Roxbury Public Library in Succasunna, N.J. "I had one woman just so overwhelmed she sat in front of the PC and cried."

Here are a few pieces of advice for job hunters headed to the library:

  • Keep an eye on the events calendars. Many libraries host educational events or classes to teach computer training or stress management. Not only will you learn something useful to your career and mental state--you'll meet other people in your community. Sometimes hearing the word "networking" can be tiring, but this is a good opportunity.
  • Make a reservation. Many libraries use reservation systems for their computers and allow members to call ahead or even go online to reserve a computer for a specific time.
  • Look at publication dates. If you're using books that offer advice on job searching, it's wise to look at the publication date so you're certain of the book's context. You'll need pretty fresh advice to find the best strategies and tips for looking for work online.

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