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Milton library offers computer just for job seekers

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
January 14, 2011
— The Milton Public Library’s got a new tool for job seekers that will fit on your lap.

It’s a laptop computer, stacked top to bottom with programs and online links just for job seekers.


Director Lisa Brooks said the library bought the laptop late in 2010 using a federal library technology grant earmarked for job-hunting technology.


The computer is programmed to channel users to an organized array of employment websites. It also offers links to colleges, job training centers and programs that guide people through writing a cover letter and resume.


Library officials say the laptop came after plans for a desktop computer and a job-search kiosk at the library were scaled back. Brooks said while the service is not an earth-shattering development in library technology, it’s a boon for local job seekers who don’t own a computer and who have limited experience using computers online job searches.


“We got the idea from seeing job seekers who aren’t tech savvy, who haven’t been on the computer before. They’d get overwhelmed,” she said. “We wanted to help people so that they’re not just hunting on the web. Some don’t realize all of the (job search) options online.”


The laptop is set up so job seekers can make easy choices from the moment they turn it on.


Area job centers have similar systems, but this is the first time the library has offered technology specifically for job seekers. Brooks said it gives residents an efficient, easy-to-use job-hunting tool that’s close to home.


Brooks also said people can take the system anywhere in the library, allowing them to work on their career search in comfort or in solitude. The computer is routed into the library printer.


“It’s practical and convenient,” she said. “Within an hour or two you could have written a cover letter and a resume and gotten addresses of prospects to send it to. You can come in and leave already having taken the first step.”


Job hunters can use the laptop free during regular library hours, and Brooks said anyone using the system can ask library staff for help with their job search.


The library’s had the laptop just a few weeks, but Brooks said staff has had feedback from a few of the laptop’s users.


One was a woman who had just lost her job. She told staff members the laptop helped her find education opportunities and job leads fast.


If the first laptop becomes popular, Brooks said, the library would consider adding a second.


She also said the laptop will work in concert with bi-monthly job search workshops offered at the library through a partnership of Rock County libraries.



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