|Photo used with permission of R-Squared - The Risk and Reward Conference 2012|
As the jobless rate hovers around 8 percent, some libraries are stepping up with resume-writing classes and online job-search tutorials. According to research published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and quoted by Karen Perry, Senior Program Officer for the U.S. Libraries at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 30 million Americans rely on libraries to find a job. For hopeful entrepreneurs, libraries help with free access to otherwise costly business databases like LexisNexis. Some libraries are even helping patrons better understand how to manage their money with unbiased financial information.
Until recently, public libraries had little reason to innovate. Then Google arrived. More disruptive technologies followed, causing an identity crisis for librarians. Now the profession is re-thinking its purpose -- a quest that lured a gathering of 350 eager librarians to Telluride, Colorado recently for the R-Squared (Risk and Reward) Conference.