In our @HarrisPoll w @Forbes 64% aware of #Omicron; 78% of those, worry it will evade existing vaccines incl.(81%)… https://t.co/VA1hUikHh0
Americans Are More Worried About Omicron Variant Than Delta, The Harris Poll Finds   In our new weekend study provi… https://t.co/cLhgnF8z2X
Check out the latest article in my newsletter: America This Week: Omicron Arrives, Boosters Rise, Borders Close, Wi… https://t.co/flrjwdSGR9
How to Talk to Your Family About Cryptocurrency #happythanksgiving https://t.co/FS1yhUh1hO
Check out the latest article in my newsletter: America This Week: Stuffing and Masks, Expensive Turkeys, Vaccine Ma… https://t.co/DWItF4lmzr
RT @YourOAAA: Don't miss today's OAAA webinar with @HarrisPoll CEO @johngerzema as he presents a forward look at consumer intent for the fi…
Check out the latest article in my newsletter: America This Week: Long On Travel and Movie Theatres, The Santa Surg… https://t.co/9nIWIaTQZb
Our new inflation survey from The Harris Poll is covered by Bloomberg News @TheStalwart in what Joe's interested in… https://t.co/GMojAK3gBC
Check out the latest article in my newsletter: America, This Week: Mixing Jabs, Breakthrough Blues, Foggy Judgement… https://t.co/dK8mZ294Mn
Check out the latest article in my newsletter: America This Week: Work Reimagined, Vaccine Resistors, Streaming Ad… https://t.co/v49567mzod
CNBC’s Ron Insana Insana has a particularly interesting (and sober) take on the protracted woes in our global suppl… https://t.co/aZREHgvaMj
Thanks to my panel at @MilkenInstitute #MIGlobal w/ @Mattel Ynon Kreiz, @SvonFriedeburg, @UNICEFUSA Michael Nyenhui… https://t.co/yr2dh49Ha8
RT @MilkenInstitute: Nearly two-thirds of The Listening Project respondents said that companies have been more reliable than governments in…
RT @MilkenInstitute: Strong majorities of citizens say the pandemic amplified the lack of access to social services and equity. #MIGlobal h…
RT @MilkenInstitute: The Listening Project, a study into the state of people’s lives from Milken Institute and @HarrisPoll, offers perspect…
Articles
American's Thriving Public Libraries

The Texas sun beats down on a mud-colored landscape. A hundred yards to the south a light breeze ripples the water in a shallow pond. A small herd, maybe twenty head, collects where the land dips toward the entryway to a large structure the color of pale red rock. At high noon an experienced hand shuffles warily to the entrance, unlocks a big door, and lets it swing open. The crowd that had been waiting so calmly presses forward and inside. Most follow the leader, who ambles straight toward the computers, self-help books, and résumé-building guides. After all, this isn’t some cattle ranch. It’s the Dallas Central Library, where the pond is actually part of a public fountain and the herd is a crowd of people eager to access the Job Resource Center.

Like most libraries across the county, Dallas Central has seen a surge in visitors that began when the recession started. The Job Resource Center was opened in 2009 in response to the number of requests from people seeking help starting new careers. As Dallas librarian Miriam Rodriguez confirms, public libraries have become training centers for those who need to brush-up on skills, conduct a job search, or get free instruction in English as a second language. Rodriguez commandeered some space and some computers. “No investment was needed,” she explains. “We pulled from the collection. We had computers and we got volunteers. The volunteers were crucial.” Now at any given hour you will find a retired businessman conducting mock interviews with would-be job applicants and student computer experts teaching middle-aged men who have been laid off from their jobs how to use online employment sites.

Born in Cuba, Rodriguez was so ambitious that she began working full time at an academic library when she was just sixteen years old. She fell in love with the work and became a full-time professional when she earned a degree in information science from the University of Havana. Rodriguez immigrated to Dallas in 1983. She worked as a baker, practiced English, and never let go of her dream of returning to library work. In 1989 she got a job at a Dallas branch library, where she worked mainly with Spanish-speaking patrons. Rodriguez earned a master’s degree in library science at the University of North Texas (in 2005 she was honored as her school’s alumna of the year) and she moved up the ranks quickly, becoming an administrator whose multicultural projects won her national recognition.

But these days her work draws as much on her experience as a struggling immigrant as it does on her expertise as a librarian. As Rodriguez recalls, people who had been laid off, and many who were just frightened about their future, flooded reference librarians with requests for help with writing résumés and responding to job openings posted on the Internet. Others were already pursuing new degrees so they could make themselves ready to shift into new lines of work. “They say, ‘I’m taking classes at a college and I need the Internet to take a test.’ Or they are connecting to remote sites such as YouTube EDU to take online college courses.” The concept of lifelong education, long touted as the key to future employment, now seems to be accepted at all levels of society. “In the twentieth century people had one or two jobs in a lifetime,” adds Rodriguez. “Today it’s ten or fifteen. Learning is never finished.”

Once thought to be road kill from the Internet, Library use reached record levels during the recession as people sought education and community. Today sixty-eight percent of Americans now have a library card, the highest percentage ever. In the post-crisis age, it’s better to be inquisitive than acquisitive.

The Central Library in Dallas is one of fifty companies interviewed for the Wall Street Journal best-seller: Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell and Live.

Comments