Public libraries for employment
Do you know that public libraries contribute to the EU employment goals (employment rate of 75% for women and men by 2020)? They provide free internet access and basic guidance for people seeking for job or considering retraining. In all 5 EU countries, where library development programs supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are being implemented (Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania) people are using the Internet at public libraries also to search for and find jobs.
• For example in Poland 12% of those using the Internet in libraries were seeking jobs (c. 75.000 people). They write and send CVs, cover letters, job applications or browse the labor offices’ websites. C. 25.000 of the Internet users in libraries were successful and found jobs !
• In Lithuania, when library users were asked where they go to look for a job or employees, 62% said they go to the library.
Public libraries contribute also to the other EU smart growth targets, especially e-inclusion. They are among key partners in implementing the EU e-inclusion goals!
1. Libraries have the infrastructure in place to help people access and use the Internet in meaningful ways.
2. Libraries are open to all people – at no cost.
3. Libraries have trained staff able to help individuals find the information they need. They provide one of the few places in which those who “haven’t clicked” can find a reliable, trusted source to guide them to use the Internet to find what they need.
4. Libraries are a cost effective partner for government. For example in Romania, local libraries have helped 17 000 farmers apply for subsidies online at their local library resulting in 15-20 million Euros in farm subsidies coming back to local communities. This is roughly 40,000 Euros in subsidies secured online per library. This happened thanks to the Biblionet program implemented by IREX and its partners such as EOS Romania (Educating for an Open society Foundation)
(Janet Sawaya, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, speech at the Polish presidency e-inclusion conference in Gdansk, 5-7 September 2011; available at http://innodig.eu/en/presentations/category/9-plenary-session-2-ii-sesja...)
There are several dozen thousands libraries in Europe. A huge network ready to use. Let’s go to the libraries and see how they engage in the EU 2020 strategy implementation!