Note: This is part of a multi-part series on how JCPL adds value to the community.
It’s not every day someone says, “You changed my life!” But that’s exactly what Charles Armstrong is saying about Jefferson County Public Library and the librarians at the Lakewood Library.
Charles moved to the Denver area about five years ago. When we met him, he was an out-of-work steelworker struggling to find employment. He came to the Lakewood Library seeking help with his job search.
The Library has dozens of resources available to job seekers, including online resources such as Job Now, programs offered in partnership with the American Job Center and others, and most important, personalized assistance from trained librarians. Library employees are skilled at helping Jeffco residents develop resumes, apply for jobs online, post their cover letters, resumes, training certificates and other materials on targeted job sites, and more.
One of the employees who helped Charles was patron experience associate Lindsay Masciotti. In an effort to get to know him better, she asked him to tell her about himself. In the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he hailed from Alabama and shared what he missed the most: “Grits! You just can’t find good grits in Colorado!”
Touched by his personal story, Lindsay suggested he insert some personal details into his cover letter. Charles followed her advice and shared his love of real grits, how steelworkers have grit, and how that grit makes him the perfect candidate for a steel working job. Over the next few days, Charles interacted with a number of other Lakewood Library employees who helped him navigate the job search process.
Shortly after posting his information on steelworker job sites, Charles began to capture employers’ attention. The next day, he had an interview, and shortly thereafter, a job offer. He accepted! At this point, Charles has moved to Cincinnati to help build buildings and bridges.
Library employees help thousands of people every day, but we rarely get to see (or hear) the results of our efforts. In this case we did. Charles called to thank us for the help, and you can hear his message here.
This kind of direct personalized attention from trained professionals is one of the things that sets us apart from Google, Yahoo and other Internet resources. As they say in our business: "if you Google the word Librarian, you get 72,300,000 results in 0.78 seconds. When you speak to a Librarian, you get personalized attention from a trained professional who will help you find just the information you need!"