Friday, March 5, 2010

Libraries and the Job Hunt

I'm back from Charlotte and have much more that I want to say about what I learned at the Baker & Taylor vendor summit. As you know, B&T is a major library wholesaler. So as I worked the vendor fair yesterday, many of the people stopping by the table were librarians or people who sell to librarians. I cannot count how many people said "Oh, resumes and job search are hot right now. A lot of libraries have job search centers in them." Of course, we've been reading that in the media. But it's good to hear it validated over and over again.

After the fair, Tom (our rep) and I had time to kill before our flight. So we drove to downtown Charlotte and hit the streets. Serendipitously, we walked right to the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library (love the reading-related quotes from Samuel Johnson and others on the pillars outside). Immediately we saw a sign pointing us to the career center. It was a huge space with lots of resources and computer terminals, as well as a medium-sized collection of job search books (including a good representation of ours, thank goodness). It wasn't overrun with people, but it was being used.

We walked around a bit more and found another area with computers for public use. Standing behind 36 users and looking at their screens simultaneously drew a gasp from me. "Tom, they are all on Facebook," I said. "I think we've got a national epidemic on our hands. I can't wait to go tweet about this!"

I'm not sure what conclusions to draw; maybe only that Facebooking was a more popular activity than job hunting in Charlotte yesterday. Certainly, there is value in any sort of networking. But there are so many distractions online. Hopefully all those people already have jobs.

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