Libraries at Work: Improving Job Prospects through Library-Accessed Online Learning

RosemaryPosted 12/5/2015

By Rosemary Long, Product Manager, Partner Products, Gale

Today’s libraries provide valuable help to their community members as the job landscape continues to shift. With advancing technology, access to computers and career development resources make the public library the perfect place for upgrading professional skills and mastering new capabilities. This may be the reason more than 30 million people reported using library computers for employment or career information in one twelve-month period during the last economic downturn.1

Online learning resources like Skillsoft and Gale Courses support libraries as educational institutions and give community members easy access to job-related training. Instruction is available anytime and anywhere, and through a variety of devices—perfect for busy lifestyles and different ways of learning. By offering career-focused education, libraries can foster local economic development by addressing the top workplace skills desired by employers.

Student using laptop --- Image by © Rachel Frank/Corbis

Skillsoft is a new resource through Gale and available for the first time at public libraries. A pioneer in online learning, Skillsoft delivers more than 250 on-demand video courses on business, management, and Microsoft Office training. These self-paced courses include interactive practice, assessment, completion, and scoring. With over 19 million current users, Skillsoft delivers highly effective content through innovative technology.

Gale Courses provide more than 350 six-week long, online programs. All classes are led by qualified college instructors and cover a variety of topics, including professional development, technology, and personal enrichment. Gale Courses is well-suited for people who prefer a more structured learning environment and engagement with fellow students and instructor. Lessons are assigned twice a week and often feature text, video, interactive games, and images. New courses begin each month.

Libraries as Workforce Development Partners

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, which became effective July 2015, identifies public libraries as potential partners of the American Job Center network and acknowledges the ability of libraries to provide an expansive array of job search services. Increased funding for career-related resources such as Skillsoft and Gale Courses is available from the act. Additionally, the new law recognizes libraries as important providers of federally supported programs in adult education and literacy. Such courses can increase training and employment possibilities for their patrons.

No matter what career stage people are in—entry level employee to seasoned professional—job skills need to be refreshed regularly to keep pace with new software releases and evolving management techniques. For those interested in enhancing skills for job opportunities or simply improving their performance, libraries can serve as a hub for management, business, and Microsoft Office training.

The following groups can benefit from libraries’ job-readiness and “upskilling” programs:

  • Job seekers
  • Businesses
  • Budding entrepreneurs
  • Those looking to advance their career

To learn more about offering online education programs at your library, visit

1 Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, available at

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