Hempstead Public Library helps community members find jobs

On any given day, four to five unemployed Hempstead community members fill the job information center at the Hempstead Public Library to search for career and education opportunities. This is the only library in Nassau County that has a specific area designated for job searching, according to the center’s coordinator, Bruce Massie.

With an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in 2015, the job center is crucial to helping the community find a place of employment and helping residents find educational opportunities.

“When the economy was bad we had waiting lists to come in here,” said Massie.

Five different computers fill what Massie called “the nook,” which patrons can check out through a waiting list. These computers allow patrons two hour sessions at a time, which is four times the amount given on normal library computers.

“We give people more time on the computers in the job learning center for job work because it takes more time to complete an application,” said Erica Lang, head reference librarian at the Hempstead Public Library.

Massie said the area is designed to be a one-stop shop for residents of the community seeking employment. The center is filled with career books, resume and cover letter writing guides and various other educational resources. Some patrons come with a job to apply to in mind, while others use the various fliers to find a position, Massie said.

“I am a certified nursing assistant,” said Clarisse Mukendi, a Hempstead resident who used the job center’s resources to apply to a job at a nearby nursing home. “I applied to four places [last week], and two called me, so now I am doing my resume here.”

The center’s computers have software that helps residents construct a resume and librarians then assist patrons in sending it out to employers. These resources are all free to the community, which allows residents like Mukendi to complete applications without the added stress of having to pay for internet bills.

“We are new in this country, and this is helping me a lot,” Mukendi said. “I like the community here.”

Massie said many patrons return to the job center week after week, developing a relationship with the library staff, and often come back to share their job accomplishments.

“It’s fun to see someone come back and say that they got a job, because you’re in it with them,” said Massie. “They’re very thankful for any type of help, otherwise they feel like they’re out there alone, and that’s pretty discouraging.”

The job information center also hosted a workshop on Nov. 9 on how to successfully apply to college. The center holds monthly workshops on career or education topics, and  many of them are related to running your own business. Massie said a professional will come in to do a talk and “give an entire hour and half to two hours to talk about what they would have to do, all the legal ramifications, the financial things, the tax implications.”

Overall, the center’s resources have a strong impact on the local community.

Massie said, “We’re noticing fewer and fewer people utilizing the services so I’m beginning to think the economy must be picking up. So people must be getting jobs. But that’s a good thing, getting jobs.”