The Chatter

Enoch Pratt’s Mobile Job Center Wins National Award in Its First Year

The Power of Libraries Award was presented to Enoch Pratt Library for its work in the community.

By Michelle Evans | April 23, 2018, 10:33 am

The Chatter

Enoch Pratt’s Mobile Job Center Wins National Award in Its First Year

The Power of Libraries Award was presented to Enoch Pratt Library for its work in the community.

By Michelle Evans | April 23, 2018, 10:33 am

We’ve all experienced the frustration when it’s time to refresh or create a resume. With all the new job-searching websites and technology, it can be overwhelming. But imagine if you didn’t even have access to a computer or funds to pay someone else for help?

With unemployment rates upwards of 50 percent in some neighborhoods in Baltimore, this problem is very real. Through a partnership with BGE and Exelon, the Enoch Pratt Mobile Job Center is able to step in and help those people in need. Since launching in May 2017, the Mobile Job Center has helped nearly 10,000 job-seekers in Baltimore find jobs. 

Equipped with 13 computer terminals, experienced staff, and location specific resources, the mobile job bus helps an average of 11 people per hour draft resumes, search for jobs, and prep for interviews. The bus is on the road Monday through Thursday setting up shop in two neighborhoods each day.

“We’ve had people stop us at intersections, honk and wave, follow us to our next location just to get help” said Marlyn Norton, the librarian who runs the job center. “We’ve been able to accomplish so much in just the first year and it’s amazing.”

These statistics are the reason Enoch Pratt Library was awarded the Power of Libraries Award from SirsiDynix, a company that develops software for libraries across the country. This is a national honor is given to library systems that are helping bring about change in their community.

“The social and racial inequalities experienced in Baltimore are immense and the work of Enoch Pratt is truly monumental,” Eric Keith, chief marketing officer with SirsiDynix said in a statement. “When we read about their Mobile Job Center and its success, we were truly impressed. They are a genuine expression of the power a library can have in its community." 

All services provided on the bus are identical to those offered in every Enoch Pratt Library branch in the city. Along with receiving assistance on job-related inquiries on the mobile unit, customers can also check books in and out, get library cards, and sometimes free legal help. Norton says that this job center was a way to get into communities where people may not have access to a library.

“We aren’t offering anything new,” she says. “It’s simply a new manner in which to do it. Why shouldn’t people who want to work suffer simply because they don’t have access to the resources they need to get a job? We are bringing that access to communities that are lacking.”




Meet The Author

Michelle Harris is the digital content producer for Baltimore, where she covers news, community, sports, and beauty.



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