More Than Books

“I never realized how much the Library had to offer,”

Nine years ago, after battling alcohol addiction, Michael found himself jobless and homeless. After months in a homeless shelter, Michael made a decision to pursue sobriety. Once he was sober, he knew he was employable and wanted to find a job. Uncertain of where to turn, Michael asked a few of his acquaintances from the homeless shelter where they go to look for jobs—that’s when he learned about the Job Help Center at the Main Library.

“I never realized how much the Library had to offer,” said Michael. “After three months of working with the librarians in the Job Help Center on my resume, I was able to secure a job. And, every job I’ve had since then has been found through the Job Help Center.”

Last year, 2,760 people visited the job help center, which offers career counseling, resume assistance, mock interview sessions, and online job application assistance.

According to the Pew Research Center, economic advancement motivates many people to use the Library, and last year 23 percent of those who visited a library did so to look or apply for a job. In a recent survey, the center found that many believe libraries are pathways to economic opportunity, providing resources for business development, job search and enhancing workforce skills.

Eight years since Michael turned to the Library to find a job, he’s working full-time and renting his own place.

“It’s been so rewarding to return to the Job Help Center and tell the librarians – those who’ve answered my every question and who have taught me how to use a computer–I’ve found a job,” Michael explained. “I’m so thankful for the Library and how they’ve helped me along the way.”

Michael’s story is one of many who have used the Library to better their economic situation in Mecklenburg County, providing free access to resources and materials that build their knowledge and find jobs.

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