Project Compass Convening: Workforce Recovery and Beyond

Project Compass /

DUBLIN, Ohio, May 15, 2012—Library staff members representing 45 states and the District of Columbia met in Washington, D.C., April 25–26, for the Project Compass National Convening, an opportunity for 215 participants in the project to share ideas in support of public libraries’ efforts to meet the urgent and growing needs of communities impacted by the economic downturn.

Attendees shared stories of patron impact, and worked together to learn about common challenges and find new, 21st century solutions to support their local economies. The convening featured guest speakers Mary Chute and Susan Hildreth from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS); futurist Garry Golden; Assistant Secretary Jane Oates of the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor; Terri Bergman from the National Association of Workforce Boards; author Marilyn Johnson; and Ron Carlee, from the International City/County Management Association.

“Working together, libraries and the workforce system are making a real difference in communities across the United States,” said Susan Hildreth, Director of IMLS. “Collaborations at the local and state levels are making it easier for citizens to access the services and resources they need. I am grateful for the excellent leadership of our partners at the Department of Labor on the federal level and to the leaders and many participants in Project Compass for making this project such a success.”

“Three years after the onset of the American recession, people still flock to their public libraries for resources and guidance, and this places new demands on public library staff,” said Chrystie Hill, OCLC Community Relations Director. “Project Compass offered training and support to 2,500 library staff across the country, and gave them the boost they needed to continue their support for people writing resumes, applying for jobs, creating networks or starting new businesses. I’m thrilled by the energy I’ve seen from our state and public library participants; they’re literally powering economic recovery—and  all Americans ultimately benefit from their commitment to this work.”

Funded by a grant from IMLS, WebJunction and the State Library of North Carolina (SLNC) launched Project Compass on October 1, 2009, to investigate job seekers’ specific demands on public libraries. Since then, the IMLS-funded grant program has supported workforce recovery efforts in U.S. libraries through state library summits, face-to-face and online training, and a Workforce Services community of practice that includes the Project Compass Workshop Materials.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit

About WebJunction
WebJunction promotes learning for all library staff by providing open, affordable online learning communities. Members access resources, attend programs, take courses, share knowledge and network with others—all in an environment that fosters collaboration and mutual support. Founded in 2003 and based in Seattle, Washington, and Dublin, Ohio, WebJunction is supported in part by OCLC, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, partners in library service agencies, and the library community.

About OCLC
Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world’s largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search on the Web. For more information, visit the OCLC website.