The Public Library System is Your Next Step on Your Career Journey!

Learn about how utilising the public library system can improve your employment qualifications; it's a concrete benefit to anyone entering the job market or transitioning fields.

In the UK, public libraries are well-known for their diverse selection of entertainment on offer, from books to film, comics and creative spaces, all the way to art programs and more! But were you aware that alongside these and other services libraries also offer tremendous support to those seeking to enter the workforce, transition to a new job, or develop their existing careers? 

According to a 2010 study commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) from City University, public library use demonstrated significant benefits for those with career goals related to both learning in a field and attaining new opportunities. Of the users sampled, 88 per cent reported that using the library made them more professionally confident, 76 per cent reported that library use encouraged them to improve their qualifications. and 51 per cent reported that their experience at the library put them in a stronger position to get a new job.

The benefits of this increase in confidence is massive in today’s competitive employment environment, as confidence in yourself and your work can increase employer perception of your value, helping you to stand out against your competition and gain an edge when it comes time to apply for a position or a promotion.

Along with increasing your confidence as an employee, utilising the public library system to improve your employment qualifications is a concrete benefit to anyone entering the job market or transitioning fields. It is a given that employers want to hire the most qualified people possible for a position, so by making use of library resources to study, apply for, and obtain career qualifications in your field you are making a direct impact on the attractiveness and viability of your resume. Library staff can assist you in targeted learning in your chosen field and navigating the web of various employment qualifications so that you can maximize your learning potential and strengthen your resume faster and more efficiently than on your own. Public library staff are there to help— don’t be afraid to ask questions!

The last point of the 2010 City University study is evidence enough of the public library system’s effectiveness as an aid to job seekers, showing that more than half of people who enter a public library looking for job assistance feel confident in identifying the library as the source of their stronger position as a potential employee. Simply by walking through the door and making an effort to learn and engage with the myriad of resources available at the library, you increase your chances of submitting a resume or heading to an interview with the confidence that you’ve cultivated a position of professional strength and qualification that can help see you on the way to a new career.

In addition to those who are seeking a job or looking to transition to a new career, the public library system also offers an important leg up in child education and academic attainment, both of which hold a strong correlation to job success in the future. According to a 2011 study by the National Literacy Trust, library use by children and young people helps improve their academic attainment. The study discovered that 38.2 per cent of young people who use the library believe that doing so will help them do better at school. Young people reading above their expected age are twice as likely to be users of their public library, while young people who are not regular library users are more than three times more likely only to read in class (i.e., they do not read outside the classroom). We can see here that reading levels and childhood educational attainment are typically improved through use of the public library system, and that these levels of attainment are strongly related to success in job seeking and career development as an adult. 

Whether you simply need a place to study within your field, supportive staff to aid you with resume writing, interview training, or navigating qualifications, or you want to set up yourself, your children, or your community with the education and resources to be strong contenders in today’s competitive job market, the public library system is an asset not to be ignored. To sum up every single service they offer would be exhaustive— the bottom line is they are here to help you and it never hurts to ask how, whether in person, by phone, or over email or social media. The keys to your future are in your hands, but public libraries can help you find the door all that much quickly.

As library user Gemma Jones wrote in an email to The Big Issue: “I write a rallying call of support now for all libraries, because I feel strongly that a library isn’t simply a building, it’s an experience. An experience meant for the primary school kids who can’t afford a book from the Scholastic fair every time it rolls into schools, meant for the old lady who wants to get into Game Of Thrones because she heard it’s good, it’s meant for the tired college students who need a place to sit down and study. Such is the rich and diverse world of the library. Please continue to fight for libraries in the name of experiences. Everyone has a right to one.”

So take your right to the UK public library system and make use of it on the next step of your career journey!

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