When Anthony Ellering moved to Boise last summer, he needed help looking for work.
He found it at the library.
Its not easy being out of work, Ellering said. Having someone willing to take the time to talk to you and empathize is another thing that makes this a good program.
A variety of resources is a mere click away, but that doesnt mean a whole lot if you dont know they are there.
RESERVE YOUR LIBRARIAN
Librarians at Boise Public Library noticed a trend. Patrons questions at the information desk were getting more complicated everything from people trying to download books from the librarys collection to researching family trees.
Lines would start to form at the desk, said librarian Becca Stroebel Kabasa.
Taking a cue from other libraries across the U.S., staffers started the Book a Librarian program.
Since last summer, patrons have been able to sign up for a block of uninterrupted time with a librarian. The service, available at the main branch, is free. Patrons do not need to be Boise residents or library card holders. Librarians will help connect people who have questions to resources on the shelves, online or in the community.
Librarian Jody Vestal, a former high school teacher of English, business and other subjects, has helped several job-seekers through the Book a Librarian program. Clients range from those who are looking for their first jobs Vestal can connect them to a video tutorial on the Department of Labors website to folks so savvy about the search that they have online resume templates set up and switch out information according to the job theyre seeking.
Ellering, 28, moved from Seattle in June. He has a degree in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. Work in his field tends to be sporadic, on a project-by-project basis, he said.
He wants to start a family and is looking for a more stable job. He said he either wants to translate the skills he already has hes detail-minded thanks to his scientific training or change fields.
Working with Vestal, Ellering has been investigating the health care and clerical fields. He has found plenty of job postings, not to mention online tutorials for software programs, resume writing, and even personal interview strategies. The personalized help from a professional researcher has been valuable, too, he said.
GETTING THE WORD OUT
If someone leaves here and tells two friends, we can help people learn what good, solid research can do for their lives, said Stroebel Kabasa.
Book a Librarian welcomes all questions, including technical issues (such as setting up an email account or a mail merge) and inquiries from students working on research projects.
One student was researching changes in the grocery business. Book a Librarian connected her with all things Piggly Wiggly the Southern chain that bills itself as Americas first true self-service grocery including the Memphis museum with a full-scale replica of the first Piggly Wiggly, which opened in 1916.
Another student was researching the creation of Sesame Street. Book a Librarian staffers showed her to the librarys extensive bound periodical collection.
The library subscribes to more than 1,000 magazines, and it keeps decades of back issues easily accessible on the shelves, including National Geographic, Life, Time, and Harpers Magazine that date to 1850.
The student researching Sesame Street was able to read primary source articles written in the late 1960s about the programs early days.
DO LIKE LIBRARIANS DO
The service helps people become better researchers by seeing how a librarian starts an inquiry, said Stroebel Kabasa.
One example: Librarians might have a no-nonsense reputation, but a humorous acronym CRAP guides their approach to information.
C asks whether information is current. R asks whether its relevant to the topic. A is for accuracy and authority. P, for purpose, is especially key in an era when anyone can post information online with any kind of agenda.
You need to learn to ask if someone is trying to sell you something or a certain viewpoint, said Stroebel Kabasa.
There are some limits to the information Book a Librarian can dispense. Librarians cant give legal advice or medical advice, and they are not counselors.
But whatever the need, said Stroebel Kabasa, we probably have a book about that.
Anna Webb: 377-6431