Monday, September 14, 2009

OCLC to help libraries study services for unemployed - Business First of Columbus:

OCLC to help libraries study services for unemployed - Business First of Columbus:

Business First of Columbus - by Matt Burns

With more unemployed workers turning to libraries as home base for a job search, Dublin’s OCLC Inc. is working with North Carolina’s library system to make sure they get the most out of the hunt.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded a $250,000 grant to a new one-year project between the Central Ohio nonprofit and the State Library of North Carolina. The institute said OCLC and the state library group will be working to use WebJunction, OCLC’s 50,000-user online cooperative for library staff and other users, as a tool to share best practices for helping the unemployed.
OCLC spokesman Bob Murphy said in an e-mail that the program begins in October with a six-month period of curriculum research and development. During that time, those spearheading the project will work through WebJunction with library staffers across the nation to draw up a plan for in-person sessions later in the program. Those sessions will take place from March through June.
Murphy said that while the grant comes with a timetable, the work being done is aimed at the long term.
“The intended outcome of the program is to explore and quickly promote the best ideas for supporting local libraries in their efforts to provide library-based employment services and programs to the unemployed, and to provide online support around these activities on an ongoing basis,” he said.
The program comes at a time when public support and demand for libraries are at times headed in opposite directions. The state in its two-year budget begun in July cut about $84 million from library funding in an effort to plug a $3 billion budget hole. Ohio’s libraries in fighting the cuts – originally proposed at north of $200 million before the budget was finalized – reiterated the importance of libraries statewide for unemployed job-seekers.


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