Editor’s note: It’s National Library Week, and to recognize the impact of libraries of local communities, we’ll hear from Robyn Jonston of the Memphis Public Libraries. To share how libraries have affected your life, use the #MyLibraryMyStory hashtag.
Local libraries are essential community hubs and one of the few places that are free and open to anyone. An important part of a library’s mission is providing free access to information and opportunities, a goal we have in common with Google. Our Memphis Public Libraries and libraries across the U.S. are partnering with Grow with Google to make digital skills even more accessible to more people. Technology has changed the way people live, and in response, libraries have changed the way we fulfill our mission. We’ve taken the lead in helping people learn the skills they need to be successful in finding jobs.
At the Memphis Public Library, it’s so important to us to help people learn skills and find jobs that we’ve taken our efforts outside of the library’s walls. In 2018, we launched JobLINC, a 38-foot bus with 10 computer stations for job seekers and a station for employers to come on board and recruit. The bus travels throughout the city, reaching people who don’t have access to technology or transportation. With help from librarians, people can work on their resumes, search for jobs and practice interviewing. We serve more than 6,000 people in Memphis on this bus each year.
The program helps us reach people like Wanda Gray, who worked as a letter carrier for 20 years before being laid off. She didn’t have access to technology or a smartphone, so she turned to JobLINC to build her digital skills, get help with her resume and learn about interviewing for jobs. Now, Wanda has a new job as a receptionist.
We’re not alone in this important work at the Memphis Public Library. 90 percent of libraries help members of their communities learn basic digital skills. And thousands of librarians across the country are dedicated to making free resources and training available to everyone. In the U.S., Grow with Google hosts in-person workshops that help people learn new skills, like creating resumes and growing their businesses online. Together, we’re helping people grow their skills and businesses, find new jobs and get ahead.
I’m humbled to share my library story and the stories of Googlers whose lives were impacted by their local libraries. Show your support for librarians during National Library Week by sharing a story about what your local library means to you, using the #MyLibraryMyStory hashtag.