The Russell Library, Middletown, Conn., is the recipient of the Reference and User Services Associationâ€™s (RUSA) 2011 John Sessions Memorial Award for their successful Business & CareerÂ Programs.
The Sessions Memorial Award was established in 1980 and is supported by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. It recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and, in so doing, has brought recognitionÂ from the communityÂ of the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of this country. Through their Business and Career Programs, the Russell Library provides 10 to 12 workshops annually that aim to help individuals find jobs or change their careers. Programs include job searching, interview coaching, computer classes and stress reduction during job searching, among other topics. With this programming, the library has done significant outreach to union and community members by providing services of special interest to the labor community,Â as well asÂ connecting with local organizations to publicize their services to jobÂ seekers.
The award committee selected the library as this yearâ€™s recipient for these notable efforts that are vital in todayâ€™s economic climate and for the value the programs hold for the local labor community. One program participant commented, â€œâ€¦[The] Russell Library Job and Career Center really helped me a lot when I was at my lowest point after losing my job a year ago.Â They gave me the confidence I needed to not give up and go out there and make myself available.Â I since have found a part-time job that I love and have a great boss too. Thank you Russell Library for all your help and confidence, strength and encouragement you’ve givenÂ me.”
â€œThe Russell Library’s Career and Job Program has had more than 2,000 individuals attend our programs over the last year,â€ said Jason Neely, head of information services at the library. â€œOur services have helped individuals from a wide range of backgrounds develop the skills that they need to find work in this very competitive environment. This economic downturn has effected such a wide range of demographics that we try to provide programs that both teach general job search skills, like resume writing and interviewing, as well as workshops that are geared to helping specific groups of displaced workers, including job seekers that are over the age of 50 and recently dischargedÂ veterans.â€
The award plaque will be presented at the RUSA Awards Reception, scheduled for 5 – 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 as a part of RUSAâ€™s events at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The exact location of this event will be announced in late spring. For more information, visit RUSAâ€™s website or the Annual Conference website.