It’s been a rough winter already for career-changers and job searchers, but one of the positive by-products of this nasty recession is that some decidedly un-cool things are becoming cool again. Eating leftovers, drinking regular coffee, wearing clothes without fancy labels, and staying home instead of jetting off on vacation – all these things are making a comeback. When it comes to research, nothing could be more UN-cool or “yesterday” than the local public library. I know people who haven’t been to a library in decades – literally. Well, reports of the death of the library have been greatly exaggerated.
Evidence could be seen last week on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. And it was job search that was driving the article, which pointed out that books, computers and Wi-Fi are free at most libraries now and unlike Starbuck’s there isn’t a barista staring you down. It’s quiet and cozy which is just right for researching career change or preparing for a job hunt or interview. You see, while we were all assuming that the times had passed the library by, many of them were slowly but surely adding the technology to make them – if not cool – at least contemporary (most even loan videos; that’s right, movies for free on DVD.)
One library that’s been swamped since October of last year is the Science and Industry Business Library (SIBL) in New York City. It’s in a historically significant building right near the Empire State Building on 34th street in the heart of Manhattan. It has a ton of hard-to-get information about companies, details the average person cannot access. Like many libraries across the country, the staff has been stretched to meet the sudden demand brought on by the recession, but they recognize their work has an important humanitarian quality in this time of difficulty. In fact, to help meet this demand, my company Vault.com is joining forces with SIBL to provide free career coaching, research support, and information sessions next week at the library.
This is just one example of the kind of activity that is going on at libraries across the country. Turns out they are just as good a resource for research and consciousness-raising as they were in the last century.