Largo, Md. – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) received a national award for innovation from the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) on Friday, January 21. Named the top innovator in U.S. and Canadian public libraries for “Creating a Workforce Ecosystem” in 2021, PGCMLS workforce and community development programs provide comprehensive job readiness resources, programs, and support for Prince George’s County residents. These programs are made possible in collaboration with partners like Employ Prince George’s, PGCMLS Foundation, University of Maryland, Center for Technology Access and Training (CETAT), Maryland State Library, and Capital One.
The annual ULC Innovations awards recognize transformative programs that address structural racism, bridge digital divides, provide lifelong education opportunities, meet the needs of under-resourced populations, and improve essential library service delivery from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada. PGCMLS’s workforce and community development initiative was selected by a panel of expert judges from over 250 submissions in 10 categories that showcase creative thinking and imaginative applications of library resources. Award winners are recognized for their level of inventiveness, the outcomes achieved, and the ability for other libraries to adapt and implement their work.
“I am tremendously #PrinceGeorgesProud of the Library’s Workforce and Community Development team and all PGCMLS staff who work tirelessly every day to connect neighbors with resources and services to advance their personal goals,” said Roberta Phillips, CEO of the Library. “This national recognition is also a testament to the significant contributions our partners like Employ Prince George’s, the PGCMLS Foundation, and CETAT, have made to helping the Library expand its capacity to anticipate and support community needs.”
During the pandemic, PGCMLS formed a workforce team to bridge employability gaps focused on the digital divide by providing innovative virtual programming, training, and community partnerships. The team developed a microsite and business wiki to improve equitable access to resources for all customers, including those transitioning into entrepreneurship. These programs and services have led directly to Prince George’s County residents gaining employment during a period of up to 11% unemployment.
- The Workforce and Community Development microsite serves as a virtual one-stop shop for jobseekers and entrepreneurs.
- Over 2,000 library customers received career readiness support between July and December 2021.
- New resources and initiatives include a business wiki developed with University of Maryland to help customers develop their business plans.
- A new IC3 digital literacy certification course with CETAT. A customer wrote, “IC3 is available at no cost to the student. I feel so much more confident about pursuing an IT career.”
- A series of LinkedIn, resume, and interview workshops for older adults sponsored by Capital One and the PGCMLS Foundation.
- The addition of Spanish-language career and small business books to the Library’s collection.
- Workforce development training and certifications for PGCMLS staff.
“Creativity and inventive approaches continue to thrive at ULC member libraries, and this year’s winners are no exception,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “This year’s submissions highlight our libraries’ remarkable capacity for leadership, commitment, and determination during a time of continued change and stress. We celebrate the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System for developing a leading-edge program that will transform their library and community, serving as a model for all public libraries in North America.
PGCMLS Workforce and Development Team Members: Zach Jones (co-lead), Shannon Crooks (co-lead), Yassin Kargbo (co-lead), Jaleen Walker (organizational lead), Jahmiel McBride (microsite lead), Michelle Hamiel (executive champion), Frank Capers, Lunden Gillespie, Norman Lezama, James Peteet, Aishar Pinnock, Giovanna Sandoval, Dan Smith, and Caleb Valentich.
New Resource Sessions for Veterans: Base Camp
Continuing the momentum that resulted in this national award, the Library’s Workforce and Community Development Team is proud to launch a new monthly series of resource sessions for veterans, prospective and current servicemembers, and military families called “Base Camp.” The program launches online on Wednesday, February 23 at 1 pm (free, registration required at pgcmls.info/events). Presented in partnership with the Prince George’s County Office of Veterans Affairs, participants will gain access to upcoming events, information, initiatives, and resources that will help veterans and their families. The Library also offers a wide range of on-demand resources for veterans and service members at pgcmls.info/veterans.
All 2021 ULC Innovations entries can be viewed at urbanlibraries.org.
About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve booklovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. Learn more at pgcmls.info/about-us.
About Urban Libraries Council
The Urban Libraries Council is an innovation and impact tank of North America’s leading public library systems. ULC drives cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st century. More than 160 urban member libraries in the U.S. and Canada rely on ULC to identify significant challenges facing today’s communities and provide new tools and techniques to help libraries achieve stronger outcomes in education, digital equity, workforce and economic development, and race and social equity.