Reaching out to the Unemployed

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Pasquotank-Camden Library
City & State:
Elizabeth City, 
North Carolina
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of the Pasquotank-Camden Public Library is to provide accessto informational, educational, cultural, regional and recreational library materials and services in print and electronic formats; to be responsive to the public library needs of the community; and to uphold the public's freedom of access to information.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Pasquotank-Camden Library, located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, serves the rural counties of Pasquotank and Camden. We serve a population of 48,862 (Camden County – 9,271 and Pasquotank – 39,591) people. The poverty level in Pasquotank County is 16.8% and 8.7% in Camden County. In working to fulfill its mission, the Pasquotank-Camden Library activities center on four areas of service: traditional library service, outreach service, educational enrichment, and cultural events to reach new and underserved citizens.

The library offers free computer classes weekly. Since July 2008 to April 2009, the library has taught sixty-six (66) Microsoft Office classes. The library taught thirty-two (32) Word, fifteen (15) PowerPoint, one (1) Office 2007 seminar, and eighteen (18) Excel classes. The classes are usually full because we promote them via the library’s web page, the public access channel, and the local newspaper. Traditionally individuals sign up for the class but we have notice an influx of organizations calling to sign up their members or clients. The organizations stated they were using the library for a training resource because the classes were free and that they did not have any funds for employee training. Most of the organizations as well as patrons state that they learned about our classes through the newspaper or the public access channel. The library has organizations such as Skills, Inc (a vocational rehabilitation organization that prepares people for employment) signing their clients up for Microsoft classes. Bank managers are sending their employees to the library to take Excel classes. The library also has a resume writing class. Microsoft word software is used to type the resumes.

As the economy deteriorates, we have seen an increase in patrons coming to the library to search and apply for jobs. Acknowledging that we are located in an area where there is a high level of poverty and unemployment the library looked to address how they could best serve the community. Particularly since as of March 2009, the unemployment rate for Pasquotank and Camden was 9.9% and 8.9% respectively. The national unemployment rate for March was 9.0%. In addition, 55.1% of the students in Pasquotank and 29% of the students in Camden receive free or reduced lunches. In addition, to addressing the unemployment issue the library had to deal with the fact that most of the patrons who were applying for a job did not know how to use the computer to fill out an online application nor did they know how to prepare a resume. Also, local organizations (i.e. Wal-Mart, Food Lion,) were sending applicants to the library to fill out job applications. To alleviate the problem we designated a stand-alone computer for patrons who wanted to search and fill out online applications for jobs. The stand-alone computer has Microsoft Office installed so that the patrons can use Word to type their resume. The stand-alone computer allows the patron to have some privacy as they navigate the internet and the Microsoft software. In addition, because the patrons have limited computer skills the library prepared a Word document with web sites so that they can click on the link they need to fill out the application.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
Project Image
Supporting Work Files