By Melany Hallam
There’s a new job search resource in town, and it’s called the Powell River Public Library. We’ve had a library here for a long time, but the new location finally opened last month and it offers all kinds of possibilities for those looking for employment, starting a business or changing careers.
High tech equipment borrowing
The PRPL includes a lot of services that you’d expect to find at a library and a few that surprised me. For example, did you know that you can borrow video, photography and sound recording equipment for up to two weeks at a time? I had no idea. The equipment includes a GoPro Hero 5 camera kit and a photography lighting kit with green backdrop. Think of the YouTube videos you could create to promote your business or create a video resume to really wow potential employers. For more on technology lending, check the library’s website here (https://prpl.ca/explore/technology-lending).
A place to learn new skills
Another really useful service is online learning with free access to Lynda.com (https://prpl.ca/research/databases/lynda-com/). I first tried out this subscription-based video learning service years ago but was too cheap to pay for it. But with your free library card, you can get access to hundreds of online courses in everything from content marketing (which pretty much everyone needs to do these days) to website building, project management and video editing. You can also practice your basic Microsoft office skills and learn about time management – all kinds of stuff – and it’s all free.
Computers, printing, rėsumės
But what if you’re just starting out with computers or you don’t have a computer at home? The library has that covered, too. There are now more than double the number of public access computers than there used to be, and there’s an ongoing program called Tech Savvy showing you how to use them. You can search and apply for jobs online or create and print your rėsumė and cover letters here. And if you don’t have your own printer, you can print documents to the library printers from your home computer, your cell phone or send documents by email. They also do photocopying and scanning. Check with the library for current prices here (https://prpl.ca/services-programs/our-services/photocopiers/), workshop schedules here (https://prpl.ca/calendar/) or give them a call at 604-485-4796. Laptops and headphones are also available for use in the library.
Business and work research
Whenever I need to figure out how to do something technical or look up a fact I turn to Google. But not all information is freely available online. The library can give you access to a long list of databases (and show you how to search them), including law databases, BC Statistics, automotive repair and maintenance manuals going back to 1945, organizations offering grants in Canada – all kinds of practical stuff. If you’re starting a business and need more information on your competition or need to learn more about your potential market, the library is a good place to start. Here’s the business resources list (https://prpl.ca/research/databases/business-resources-online/). If you’re looking for work, online and paper copies of career-related newspapers and magazines can also be found in the library.
Meetings and networking
By far the greatest thing about the new library is the space. It’s large, open and welcoming, and it has a cafė that serves excellent coffee. It’s a great place to hang out. What does this have to do with looking for a job, you might ask?
As I’ve written about previously, much of the job search process has to do with who you know, with networking (https://careerlinkbc.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/networking-its-about-connection/). The new library is an ideal place for this. Whether it’s a casual coffee with someone who can tell you about the work you’re interested in, a tutoring session, or a larger gathering in one of the three new meeting rooms, the new library makes it easy and affordable.
Who knows, you might like the place so much you’ll want to volunteer there. https://prpl.ca/about-us/support-the-library/volunteering-information/