Library Card Sign-Up Month
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time to recognize the range of valuable services available at public libraries. As I remain focused on strengthening the economy and getting unemployed Pennsylvanians back to work, I think of the many families who rely on libraries to assist them in their employment search. In tough economic times, public libraries help citizens locate jobs, assemble applications and develop marketable skills. Overall, library use has risen as much as 23 percent since the recession began in 2008.
Forty percent of library computer users report using the library to help them with their job search, according to a recent survey by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Washington Information School and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. These individuals leverage free access to technology, classes and workshops to prepare resumes, search for job opportunities and learn about new software and applications that make them stronger candidates in a competitive job market. Critically, the library also serves as a job searching venue for those who are most likely to be unemployed. In 71.4 percent of communities, the library is the only source of cost-free internet access, and 83 percent of those who can only access the internet in a library report using it to look for a job.
Our public libraries and librarians play a vital role in fighting unemployment and bettering our communities. Please join me in celebrating Library Card Sign-Up Month and consider paying a visit to your local library to see how libraries are contributing to our economic recovery.